FLINDERS RANGES WORKSHOP

We left Arkaroola and headed down to Adelaide, exploring Wilpena, the southern Flinders and Burra, on the way. Our truck was parked in secure parking for the two weeks of the workshop. We spent a night in Adelaide, then we joined the painting group and travelled back up to Wilpena Pound Resort by coach for our first 5 days of the workshop.

The Flinders Ranges are a great place to paint – interesting buildings, spectacular gorges and a backdrop of magnificent purple mountains.

Here we painted the old Wilpena Station store where all the stations provisions were secured back in the 1800’s

This old door has been patched and repaired over the years, keeping the blacksmiths cottage secure for over a hundred years.

We painted the stony outcrops surrounding the Aroona Valley before going down into the Brachina Gorge to explore the rocks and pools

 

Brachina Gorge

We had two great indigenous guides to show us around the Brachina Gorge area. They took us to see these ancient rock engravings with all sorts of interesting details.

Leaving The Flinders, we moved on down to Burra, a beautiful little town with magnificent stone buildings built in the boom days of the towns copper mine in the 1800’s. We spent a few days in Burra exploring the area and painting.

Burra Main Street.

South Australia has a lot of old abandoned railway stations, some with old rolling stock, some with wheat silos and most of them built beautifully from local stone

One of our group has explored all the old abandoned stations in the lower Finders. He got permission from the owners of this beautiful old station for us to visit.

We spent a morning painting the old Farrell Flat Station.

 

Skillogalee Vineyard made a good painting destination. We sampled their wines, had a fabulous meal and painted in the vineyard garden – What a great day.

Lunch on the Skillogalee verandah.

Our last couple of days were spent in Hahndorf in the Adelaide hills. We visited The Cedars – the home and studio of Hans Heysen.

A beautiful studio with huge, frosted, south facing windows and a large open fireplace

 

We were lucky to have “The Two Marks” on board as we travelled around South Australia. Mark One , the driver, had a terrific knowledge of the area and kept us entertained and informed with some great stories. Mark Two,  a local watercolourist and long time traveller through the region led us to some great painting locations we would have otherwise missed.

The passing vista of old abandoned buildings, big skies and bare rolling hills is unique to South Australia and is something that keeps drawing us back to this part of the country.

 

OLD STRZELECKI TRACK

After 12 months of Covid restrictions it sure is a good feeling to load up our truck and head out west again. Our plan is to head west through Queensland and cross the, now open, border into South Australia around Innamincka. From there we will follow Strzelecki Creek along the Old Strzelecki Track, stopping at some of the waterholes mentioned by John Conrick in his 1870 journey to find a route to drive cattle from Western Queensland to Adelaide.

We will leave our truck in Adelaide then travel by coach back up to the Flinders Ranges to conduct a painting workshop for two weeks

Crop dusting vast fields of Cotton near St. George, Qld.

Old Dynevor Downs shearing shed. Every time we drive past I stop and take a photo. Over the last 30 odd years we have seen it slowly deteriorate. Wild dogs have virtually shut down the wool industry in Western Queensland.

An unusual site – The Wilson river at Noccundra brim full of water.

As we head out through Western Queensland it is great to see all the creeks and waterholes full from recent rain.

The normally dry desert country is green and full of wild flowers at the moment.

The Old Strzelecki Track could better be described as the Old Strzelecki River. Kilometres of the track were under water so we had to use side tracks most of the way. The abundance of water meant that birdlife was scattered far and wide, unlike in dry times when the odd small waterhole attracted hundreds of birds. We managed to find a couple of Conrick’s waterholes but the condition of the track made it difficult.

This ever changing sculpture made from camel bones and accumulated junk marks the end of the Strzelecki Track and the Northern approach to the Flinders Ranges.

The track improves and far off in the distance The Flinders Ranges become visible

North Mulga Station sits on a lonely stretch of land at the Southern end of the Strzelecki.

The southern end of the track crosses a dingo fence that stretches as far as the eye can see in both directions

Dogs are trapped and poisoned in an attempt to give the farmers a chance to raise stock on these huge properties.

A pair of Brolgas heading to a water hole at sunset

Corellas make a home in a giant River Red Gum

Approaching the Arkaroola turn off in the Northern Flinders.

Back into harsh, dry country around Arkaroola

The dark nights and clear air around Arkaroola are perfect for astronomy. There are a couple of large telescopes on the property.

A big Wedge tail surveys the countryside.

The small, endangered Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby lives in the hills around the Flinders Ranges.

Feral Goats also compete for grass and water in the area.

Nankeen Kestrel on an Arkaroola stump

A happy parrot perched in the morning sun

ON TO FLORIDA

Our workshop at Dillmans was a lot of fun – catching up with old friends and meeting new people. We were a couple of weeks early for the full Fall colors, but White Sand Lake is spectacular any time.

 

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Great View from our cabin on the lake

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Sandhill Crane – Dillmans

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From Dillmans we headed over to Boone, North Carolina to meet “Cheap Joe” Miller – What a great guy – A real gentleman and character, the only person I know that can play Pachelbells Canon on a specially tuned wooden stick

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Rocking Chairs on Cheap Joes Studio Verandah

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Cheap Joe’s Workshop Studio is fantastic – lots of space, great light and a big overhead screen and camera

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Beautiful old wooden Barn near Todd NC

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Todd General Store and Bakery, near Boone NC

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Bob and Tom – Irish Pub, Bradenton FL

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Great to catch up with Joe Costanza in Florida – Crazy sense of humour and lots of great stories

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Curious Squirrel

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Gulf backwater near Mobile AL

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Tupelo Honey

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Old fish processing building as the sun rises – Apalachicola FL

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Fishing Floats

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Sad to see the Hurricane damage around the Gulf of Mexico. This, once grand, building in Apalachicola has an optimistic ‘Opening Soon’ sign, that appears to have been in place for quite a while

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Old Jetty – Cedar Key

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Cedar Key – Bar on the water as the sun goes down

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Cedar Key

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Roseate Spoonbills – Cedar Key

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Pink Ibis

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Young Herron

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Egret

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ROCKS AND BOABS

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.

© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Spectacular, close up view of Katherine Gorge

© John Lovett 2019
Kununurra sunset changes the landscape completely
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Couldn’t resist painting this old Studebaker truck at El Questro Station

© John Lovett 2019     © John Lovett 2019
Rock Wallaby keeps watch over Chamberlain Gorge

© John Lovett 2019
Chamberlain Gorge

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
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
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019

© John Lovett 2019

Bell Gorge – one of the many waterholes along the Gibb River Road
© John Lovett 2019
Water Monitor – Bell Gorge
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019

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

© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Bee hive in a cave in the Napier Range

© John Lovett 2019
Outside Studio

© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019   © John Lovett 2019 An amazing place to paint and explore

KAKADU

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.

Whistling Ducks  © John Lovett 2019

Whistling Ducks

Jacana Chick  © John Lovett 2019

These Jakana chicks hatch out of the egg with small fluffy bodies and ridiculously over sized feet

Jacana Chick  © John Lovett 2019
Male Jacana  © John Lovett 2019

As they grow the body gets bigger and less fluffy and the legs grow even further out of proportion.

Azure Kingfisher  © John Lovett 2019

Azure Kingfisher

Nankeen Night Heron  © John Lovett 2019

Nankeen Night Heron

Crocodile Smiling  © John Lovett 2019

Deceptively happy looking Crocodile.

Crocodile swimming  © John Lovett 2019

Floating and watching

Crocodile  © John Lovett 2019
Egret  © John Lovett 2019

Large Egret

Egret  © John Lovett 2019
Water Buffalo  © John Lovett 2019

Water Buffalos are starting to breed up again in Kakadu

Yellow Waters © John Lovett 2019

Yellow Waters Sunset

Painting at Anbangbang Billabong
© John Lovett 2019

Painting at Anbangbang Billabong.

ANTARCTICA

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

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Cape Petrels

© John Lovett 2019
Giant Petrel

© John Lovett 2019
Wandering Albertros

© John Lovett 2019  © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Scientists from one of the research stations boarding the Zaandam for lectures

© John Lovett 2019
Argentine research station
© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Chilean research station – surrounded by penguins

© John Lovett 2019
Our painting room on the Zaandam had huge windows, so as we worked, we could watch the landscape drift by.

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019

CORNWALL & THE COTSWOLDS

What a treat to have two weeks painting in Cornwall and The Cotswolds. Beautiful little villages, quaint stone buildings, historic old fishing ports and, amazingly, fantastic weather!

© John Lovett 2018 Rowing Boats – Stratford_Upon_Avon

© John Lovett 2018 Arden Hotel

© John Lovett 2018 Early morning – Cotswold country side

© John Lovett 2018 Painting in a meadow – Stow-on-the-Wold

© John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018 Hobbit door – Stow on the Wold

© John Lovett 2018 Cotswolds – thatched roofs and stone walls

© John Lovett 2018 Horse trail through the woods

© John Lovett 2018Castle Combe

© John Lovett 2018 Painting at Dartmouth Harbour

© John Lovett 2018 Dartmouth

© John Lovett 2018 Dartmouth as the tide goes out.

© John Lovett 2018 Ploughed fields and hedges

© John Lovett 2018 Painting on the jetty at Polperro

© John Lovett 2018 Polperro Harbour

© John Lovett 2018 Fishing boats – Polperro

© John Lovett 2018 Mevagissey Harbour

© John Lovett 2018This beautiful old fishing boat was to be our painting subject, but the thought of being scrutinised by 20 painters was too much. She sailed off just as we were about to start!

© John Lovett 2018 Clouds over Mevegissey

© John Lovett 2018 Small boats ferrying visitors to St Michael’s Mount at high tide.

© John Lovett 2018 St Michael’s Mount

© John Lovett 2018 Painting from the Hoe, Plymouth – From here, Sir Francis Drake watched the Spanish Armada drift past the mouth of the harbour as he finished his game of bowls.

© John Lovett 2018Dining in Plymouth

© John Lovett 2018 Plymouth moped

© John Lovett 2018Plymouth Prawn