Meet Ron Stewart, one of our volunteer Friends. Ron has an interesting obsession – he likes to create new pictures from hundreds of image pieces.

Over many, many hours he created his image of the Gardens, and has recently given it to the Friends to display in the A&E and whenever we have the Gardens on show – such as the Queensland Gardens Expo in Nambour.

Read about what he says about his artwork below this image.


The Planting of a Seed – Ron Stewart

Some years ago, I was in conversation with Michael Gilles (Sunshine Coast Council) about photography, when he asked me what element of the gardens would I choose to showcase this beautiful setting? I replied that it would be impossible to choose just one as there were so many different aspects that needed to be featured. After asking the same question of many of the gardens Friends, I put the question to our resident photographer, Greg Miller. It was decided that a collage of the many attributes would be needed. This was in about 2018 but the quest was never forgotten.

I had already spent hundreds of hours on a program not unlike Photoshop to showcase the collection of images I had taken from all over the country to create stunning silhouette wall art images.

ron-img3Anyway, the seed was planted and over the next 3 years, I had the challenge to go from the B&W silhouette images to working with the hundreds of colors, often with up to over a thousand layers, creating file sizes in excess of 2GB. I was so glad I bought a decent computer!

The image angle, composition and blending of colors, proved to be extremely complex and I found myself channeling the surrealism artist M.C. Escher. In particular, his use of geometric repetition with multiple images in his tessellation art works proved very helpful.

Well, I was hooked, a casual hobby had now become an obsession and I found tremendous satisfaction in merging my catalog of magic moments into a single image to tell the memorable story.

Now I know a lot of realists will say but that’s not how it is, but it’s all about taking your eye on a journey and getting you to explore the many elements in the one scene, in this case it’s the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Gardens and a lot of what can be seen on the many walking paths. The B&W artwork is the M.C. Escher waterfall image from the Perpetual Motion genre, I had this image in mind when I set out the circle of paths throughout the Gardens. The paths got lost in the forest somewhere.

All background images were kindly provided from the extensive photo library of thousands of images the Friends have collated, with special thanks to Tony & Dorothy Ireland, Greg Miller and others. Many PNG images from the internet were used as fillers and detail to help blend the backgrounds.

ron-img4Surreal photography or sometimes referred to as conceptual photography challenges its admirers to change their perspectives, question their values, and create something unforgettable. In this type of photography, you try to convey a concept or message with a single photograph. This unique genre has inspired many photographers to recreate their wildest dreams, exploring their creative imaginations. When the sub-genre, conceptual surrealism was first envisioned, photographers created their own images using double exposure, darkroom tricks and optical illusions by sometimes levitating the images.The image adjacent is not the MRBBG, but a conceptual “Garden of Eden”. Looking carefully into this, there’s wildlife, consisting of 2 Marsupials, 2 Mammals, 2 Insects, 2 Reptiles, and 2 Birds nesting. It would make a great Jig-saw puzzle!

ron-img5 Information provided from a Google search:

Images made for this genre are filled with many intricate details, which focuses on using multiple objects or elements to express a common theme. The strange and intriguing work of surreal photographers using conceptual photography,represents their unconscious ideas, dreams, perception, emotions and a form of expression. Within conceptual photography, lies a catch-22 in that the Surrealists were attempting, via their art, to liberate the modern mind and attempt to understand deep-set, unconscious desires, fears and impulses. Yet they were doing this with the most realistic medium of the time, photography.Every day each of us likely views thousands of spectacular scenes, all competing for our attention. But very few succeeding in keeping them for very long. Images showing surprising or dramatic scenes are more likely to stand out and remain fixed in our memories.

Again, this image is not from MRBBG, but a conceptual “Tropical Forest”