Boyd bought Riversdale on the Shoalhaven river close to Bundanon in 1973. While the house was renovated, he lived at Earie Park from late 1974, as he divided is time between Australia and England. The Shoalhaven area became the inspiration of his work through 1975 and he exhibited paintings on copper of the subject at Australian Galleries in Melbourne in 1976 and at Fischer Fine Art in London in 1977.
'The first exhibition of 'straight landscapes' inspired by Bundanon consisted of small oil paintings on copper. The technique, much used in the seventeenth century, was not unlike miniature painting in its approach. Boyd explained:
"It is not painted directly on to the copper. The copper is brilliantly cleaned and buffed and washed down with methylated spirits. An oil base is painted on to the copper and smoothed out with a fine brush, about an inch-wide sable brush. It must be very glass-like. Then I work on it with oil paint and stand oil. Stand oil is a treated linseed oil. It is heated but not boiled. Its main property is that it does not move or run. The stand oil played a big part in these pictures because some of them are very detailed."
An unlikely and original technique for an artist in the 1970s, oil on copper was the very opposite of the heavy impasto used in work such as the Nebuchadnezzar series. The paintings each took weeks to produce, and indeed Boyd suffered 'tennis elbow' as a result of gripping the brush to acheive maximum control for the minute detail. Most of the copper paintings were executed in England from detailed sketches done in situ. They have an intimate quality in contrast to the large scale of the landscape itself, yet they convey the variety of the landscape in the same way as do prints or drawings in a book. The quality of paint on metal gives a jewel-like illusion. It was the tremendous sharpness and clarity of light on the Shoalhaven as opposed to the more southerly Australian landscape of his early painting that made oil on copper so suitable a medium. ... Boyd worked on the copper paintings for between twelve and eighteen months, creating approximately thirty. They were 'astonishing in their detail, tonal qualities and truth to nature'. ... To a large extent the copper paintings are a celebration of nature and represent a pensive pause before the dramas unfold -- when the Shoalhaven becomes a stage for Boyd's images of humanity's future, for uncertainty, isolation and vulnerability.' (J. McKenzie, Arthur Boyd, Art & Life, London, 2000, pp.171-78)