Interviewed for The Adventure Handbook.
Tom Carment has always loved the Australian landscape, but as this celebrated plein air painter and drawer has sometimes found, it doesn’t always love him back. The land can be indifferent, if not outright hostile. While cycling about in remote South Australia Tom was bitten on the neck by a redback spider and - after suffering through the night - made it to hospital the following day to be dosed up on two bags of anti-venom. Another time, while hiking Tasmania’s magnificent Overland Track through constant rainfall, a leech found its way quietly into his mouth.
This cringe-inducing tale of the leech is but one snippet from seven separate tales of seven spectacular walks scattered across Australia, gathered together to form the beautifully produced large-format book Seven Walks: Cape Leeuwin to Bundeena. Filled with Tom’s watercolours and pen-ink sketches and set alongside close friend Michael Wee’s photographs, these remarkable illustrations of landscape are the stars of the show.
But it is Tom’s subtle writing that enlivens the country depicted by the pair- describing the travels, the conversations and encounters, in a richly digestible prose that is interspersed with segues into both natural and cultural histories, forming a package that imparts a genuinely holistic glimpse into place.
"I really missed certain things about the Australian landscape. I think it was the quality of light, the feeling of space, the ragged quality about the trees, the random disorder of the Australian eucalypts, and the ancient feeling of the geology of the landscape. And in summer the sharpness of the shadows is quite unique."
"My partner jokes about me, when I’m on holidays I’m always wanting to paint, but for me it’s my way of being in the landscape"