A workshop in Blackall and another spread between Longreach and Winton saw us load up the truck and head off to central Queensland for six weeks. The country was incredibly green after all the rain and flooding. Many roads were still closed and venturing off the bitumen was a slippery, muddy exercise.
Silos on the road to Roma
This old pub at Wallumbilla looks less than inviting soaked in rain and surrounded by mud, but the local graziers couldn’t be happier.
Retirement green confusion – Morvan.
Early morning – Morven waterhole
Disused railway crane – Morven
Camping out of Tambo was a little tricky – where there wasn’t grass there was thick, sticky mud.
Sunrise through a layer of fog, Tambo
Union Hotel Blackall – still sells cold beer, but not much else
The weekly cattle sale in Blackall saw some fat’ healthy cattle, happy sellers and not so happy re-stockers.
Lisa and Bruce, from one of the big sheep stations out of Blackall, invited us out to see the end of the shearing.
These guys work flat out, fired up by loud, fast music, high demand and and a competitive attitude.
Shearing their way through several thousand sheep is hard, back breaking work.
Ancient Technology from the Isisford Picture Theatre.
Drowned caravans camped in the Barcoo River, Isisford. Ignore the locals at your peril.
An empty paddock next to the old Langenbaker House in Ilfracombe made a great place to paint
DC3 at the Qantas Museum Longreach
Retired Catalina at the Qantas Museum
Before the workshop in Winton, Dianne and I went out to the clay pans at Bladensburg to find a painting location
Willy Mar’s old market garden store, Winton
We painted Willy Mar’s old truck (now up on blocks next to his old market garden and store.
We spent a morning in the old Bladensburg woolshed painting the ancient wool press.
This was the demonstration painting I did. (Couldn’t help using Phthalo Green!)
Looking west towards Winton – an unusual sea of lush, green grass
At the Winton Dinosaur Centre, volunteers work tirelessly separating rock from fossil to reconstruct the skeletons of dinosaurs.
After the Winton workshop Dianne and I headed back out to Bladensburg to camp and watch the sun go down.
Heading east, we found this lake with amazing sunsets and fantastic birdlife.
Our camp, just visible from the top of a nearby hill
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
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.
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.
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.
Great View from our cabin on the lake
Sandhill Crane – Dillmans
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
Rocking Chairs on Cheap Joes Studio Verandah
Cheap Joe’s Workshop Studio is fantastic – lots of space, great light and a big overhead screen and camera
Beautiful old wooden Barn near Todd NC
Todd General Store and Bakery, near Boone NC
Bob and Tom – Irish Pub, Bradenton FL
Great to catch up with Joe Costanza in Florida – Crazy sense of humour and lots of great stories
Gulf backwater near Mobile AL
Old fish processing building as the sun rises – Apalachicola FL
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
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
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