Welcome to my shearing shed studio ,
Winter of 2018 is upon us and its very cold & dry in west NSW . We are in a drought and the landscape has taken on a strange appearance . Severe frosts have made things worse . The sky is cloudless . And the night sky has stars and planets as big as DIAMONDS .
At the end of a cold day there is nothing better than to sit in front of a log fire and look into the dancing flames while eating a big bowl of piping hot soup . The colours in a fire are awesome ....red , yellow , blue, orange , copper green and black. My paintings are coloured like fire , never boring. They jump out at you . I rarely use drab tertiary colours or greys .
Most of my life has been spent working on properties in the Outback , doing stuff like mustering , shearing , wheat harvesting , welding and repairing tractors . I've done a bit of rodeo & wood choppin at Country Agriculture Shows including the Royal Easter Show in Sydney.
14 years ago , I met an old bloke who was landscape painting on the side of a road which runs from Cobar to Gunderbooka . I thought he was crazy standing out in the middle of nowhere under the hot sun . Any way he called himself a " plein air " artist who was trained at the Julian Ashton art school .
That afternoon he showed me the technique of oil painting . Up till then the only painting I ever did was slapping a few coats of Dulux on an old weatherboard cottage or the dog kennel.
My studio is a 100 year old wool shed loaded with character , space and freedom to create and not worry about getting paint on the floor boards.
( This shed is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a shearer who dropped dead on the job many years ago . Every now & then the ghost knocks over a jar of turps full of brushes or a painting off the easel or hides something from me . It could be the wind or a bush rat or my memory but I reckon its his ghost having some fun at my expence !!! ) .
Someone said I am a colourist which sounds right , in the Outback colours are rich and vibrant with amazing sunsets and sunrises which are reflected in my pallette .
My paintings are about Australia's people and the wild life, in big open landscapes where you can see for ever . Where flocks of birds , herds of camels, brumbies & lonely kangaroos roam free . And gum trees with their contorted shape , colour and size stand proud and free like ancient totems .
I have driven off the beaten track and seen the beauty and harshness of the Outback with its floods and droughts and bush fires . Watching people do all soughts of weird and wonderfull things as they go about their daily lives. Which ends up as scenes in my paintings.
For inspiration I listen to Rolling Stones & Keith Urban ( on full volume ...hell yeah !!) . With the help of a few glasses of Professor Penfolds or a can or three of icy cold Vitamin B . I rarely think about what images to make , just begin and let the paint tell a story .
Painting is like looking into a crystal ball and seeing the past , present & future. Its my dreamtime. It comes from the subconscious .
I use high quality French and Italian oil paint and the best Linseed oil.
And by the way , these paintings look much better in real life than in the photos. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed painting them.
Your Artist in the bush ,
Little Heath .
P.S Every painting is signed and dated on the front lower left or right side. And in some instances some comments or a drawing on the reverse.
PPS , Bogan Gate where I live is out near Condobolin , in far West NSW.
PPPS : My Recipe for :
Kangaroo Tail Soup
This is perfect tucker for a cold winter.
Due to the drought there are many dead kangaroos on side of road ( before the blow flies or Yowies have got at it ) cut the tail off and skin it .
Back home in the kitchen chop up the tail into one inch wide pieces . Then get a big soup saucepan in which you heat up a few spoonfulls of cooking oil , toss in the kangaroo tail pieces . When meat has browned throw in vegetables from your garden patch such as a diced carrot , leek , a chopped up yam or sweet potato or some pumpkin , plus a handfull of peas and some wild mushrooms from the paddock and any other vegetables you have in the garden but not tomatoes. Stir them around on high heat for a few minutes then fill saucepan with warm water. Throw in a handfull of barley or pasta .Bring to boil and let simmer for ten minutes . Then mix in two teaspoons of honey , two teaspoons of Sambal chilli paste , a slurp of fish sauce and salt to taste . Bring to boil and then let simmer on low heat for 60 minutes or more . Stir occasionally so it doesnt burn . Laddle out into soup bowls . Serve with hot buttered toast and a glass of Penfolds Grange .
Tastes bloody brilliant and even better the next day.
If you dont have a kangaroo tail , use 4 lamb shanks or a kilo of osso bucco or an ox tail or grab some kangaroo steaks from Woolies or Coles.
Bon appetite my friends !