For six months in 1926, Clarice Beckett painted a body of work distant from her coastal home environment at Beaumaris. Staying in rural Victoria with the brother of her good friend Maud Rowe on his Western District sheep station, ‘Naringal’, she produced some of her most experimental landscapes. The scenes express a reflective mood, and their soft forms captured in the muted light of the close of day have the illusion of gently trembling in the heat haze.
Beckett had the novel opportunity to work uninterrupted and use a studio, which was situated on the upper level of a shearing shed, where doors opened out to a wide view of the farming country, summarised in this suite of elevated views.
In the sunset landscape Summer fields the artist avoids the clichéd gum tree motif and turns to glowing colour and dissolving form to convey the distinctively Australian sensation of radiating heat and stillness. This painting is now regarded as a turning point in Australian landscape painting. The same work prompted the Australian artist Fred Williams (1927–1982) to remark with astonishment, ‘She got there before me’.