Our Outback Workshop moved from Kakadu/Litchfield, over to Kununurra via Katherine. Moving across the boarder into Western Australia brings a change in the landscape from speargrass savannah to rocky outcrops and giant Boab trees. The landscape was unusually dry for this time of year. Normally creeks are full, waterfalls are flowing and the landscape is greener but, unfortunately, the last wet season was almost non existent.
Spectacular, close up view of Katherine Gorge
Kununurra sunset changes the landscape completely
Couldn’t resist painting this old Studebaker truck at El Questro Station
Rock Wallaby keeps watch over Chamberlain Gorge
Distorted landscape around Lake Argyle
After the Outback Workshop finished, Dianne and I collected our truck we had stored in Kununurra and headed of down the Gibb River Road via Wyndham and Parry Lagoon
Bell Gorge – one of the many waterholes along the Gibb River Road
Water Monitor – Bell Gorge
At the end of the Gibb River Road is the Napier Range. A spectacular band of twisted Limestone running East West across the Southern Kimberley. We spent a few days camped under the range painting, walking, sketching and photographing
Bee hive in a cave in the Napier Range
After a long drive and another great workshop in Blackall, we arrived in Kununurra where we left our truck and flew to Darwin to start the Outback workshop with International Artist. Following a couple of days painting in Litchfield National Park we headed out to Kakadu for some painting and exploring. One of the highlights of Kakadu is the Yellow Waters Cruise. We have done it many times and it is always spectacular and always different.
These Jakana chicks hatch out of the egg with small fluffy bodies and ridiculously over sized feet
As they grow the body gets bigger and less fluffy and the legs grow even further out of proportion.
Nankeen Night Heron
Deceptively happy looking Crocodile.
Floating and watching
Water Buffalos are starting to breed up again in Kakadu
From the Falkland Islands we made our way to Argentina, stopping first in Montevideo then ending our cruise in Buenos Aries. After the workshop finished, Dianne and I stayed on in Buenos Aires for a few days to explore the city.
After a second smooth crossing of Drake Passage, we stopped for a day at Stanley in the Falkland Islands. The islands are low, treeless and windswept. The older architecture in Stanley is interesting. Apart from a few buildings made of brick or stone, most construction is of timber and corrugated iron. The design of the buildings are still traditionally British – even down to the picket fences, but the unusual materials take some getting used to. An attempt to make the place feel like home I guess, but they miss out on that balmy British weather!
There are many of these old Nissin Huts, left over from various wars. All the buildings have a flaking, rusty patina caused by the constant freezing and thawing and the continuous howling wind.
An interesting graveyard for wooden boats at the end of Stanley Harbour.
Young penguin hiding in a burrow above the beach
Mum and Dad socialising on the beach
No one climbs through the fences
Male Upland Goose – common on the islands
Brand new Landrovers waiting delivery
Anchorage for fair weather sailers.
The Falklands had a very British feel – friendly British accents, Landrovers everywhere, Pubs serving Ale and money bearing pictures of the Queen.
Heading South from the tip of South America, we crossed, an oddly calm, Drake Passage and continued down into the Antarctic Peninsular. We had a number of sea days with no land in sight, but much bird and marine life to observe between painting sessions.
Once into the Antarctic Peninsular Icebergs drifted by as we passed through unimaginably spectacular scenery
Scientists from one of the research stations boarding the Zaandam for lectures
Argentine research station
Chilean research station – surrounded by penguins
Our painting room on the Zaandam had huge windows, so as we worked, we could watch the landscape drift by.
After leaving Bisbee, our plan was to head east across the bottom of Arizona to the Chiricahua Mountains. This road took us through the small settlement of Apache near where Geronimo surrendered to the Us Army in 1886, ending the Indian wars.
Crossing into New Mexico, we stopped at a roadhouse in the little town of Rodeo. It was an interesting place with great food and an entertaining passage of local ranchers stopping in for coffee and gossip.
Further down the road a Museum had a great collection of local desert snakes – all safely behind glass. We hadn’t managed to see a rattle snake in all our wandering around, so this was a good opportunity to get a photograph.
Crossing back into Arizona, we headed up to Portal in the Chiricahua Mountains. The mountains were spectacular with birds and wildlife everywhere.
Hummingbirds were a lot of fun to photograph, being so small and moving so fast. Even at 2000th of a second their wings are blurred.
From Portal we climbed the mountains up to around 10,000 feet, passing the huge Morenci copper mine.
Just outside Tucson, Arizona, is the Sonoran Desert. Tanque Verde Ranch is situated in the desert and joins the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The ranch was our venue for an enjoyable 5 day painting workshop organised by MISA.
Tanque Verde Ranch was a large cattle property in the early days, but now runs around 200 horses for visitors to explore the many desert riding trails.
Old, now abandoned, homestead.
One of the ranches horse wranglers
Desert riders – heading for the blueberry pancake breakfast overlooking the mountains
Wagon from the wild wild west
Cowboy singer at a dinner under the cottonwoods – only sang cowboy songs.
Wrangler with his horse
Outside the wranglers Quarters.
I love these American cowboy saddles.
Black and White, Red and Brown
Big old French Percheron
Tired and dusty
Across the desert to the mountains
Sticks from the dead Saguaro cactus used for building.