From Mansfield, we headed on home, taking the scenic route through the Alps via the little town of Corryong, home to the real ‘Man from Snowy River’, Jack Riley.
It was 35C that day – not very alpine weather! We spent the night in Tumut and got home the next day.
I had sketched regularly during the trip, and here are some of them.
This was to be the last car holiday we’d make with our dear beagle, Bridie. She passed away in mid-August after a short illness. We were glad that she got to travel all the way to Victoria – she loved a drive and a sniff!
Rest in peace, old girl.
Despite the fun I had at the museum, my favourite locations in the field are inevitably scenic ones. This time it’s a seascape.
Malabar Headland has recently been made into a national park. It makes the walk between South Maroubra and Malabar accessible whenever the rifle range on the same location isn’t in use.
My friends and I visited on a very sunny and still day – though the seas were still a bit rough due to Cyclone Gita all the way in New Zealand.
The sandstone cliffs are similar to what you might find in Royal National Park, but more accessible, especially if you live in or are visiting the Eastern Suburbs. I made the most of the intricate folds and honeycomb erosion by sketching in ink.
Art in the field doesn’t always have to be out of doors – it can also take place in indoor locations.
A few weeks ago, a few friends and I went sketching in the Australian Museum. Although I had visited a few times, I had never sketched there before. It’s actually a great place to draw in, being full of different objects – natural and man-made.
An intricate wood carving from the Congo, in the Long Gallery.
A very elaborate head-dress from New Guinea, in the Long Gallery.
Crocoite from the Albert Chapman mineral gallery.
Tourmaline from the Albert Chapman mineral gallery.
Creativity doesn’t need to be confined to just the home, school or studio. Photographing and sketching in the field provides stimulus and is great practice. It’s really true that the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
One place that’s inspired is my old haunt of Oatley Park, by the Georges River. I might not have been a frequent visitor in recent years, but I made up for it in the last few months: shooting photographs at the castle.
And sketching by the baths.
Mornings are my usual time there. It’s when the light is golden as the baths are illuminated. If you wake up early enough, you might even see the sun rise.
The end of the day came at our campsite at Windjana Gorge by the campfire.
It was made even more spectacular against the backdrop of the gorge. It became my final picture of the day.
The final day, we made our way back to Highway One, although there were still a few sights to see along the way, like this very long cattle trough at Myalls Bore.
By morning tea we were back on the Indian Ocean at Derby – a sleepy town compared to Broome with a long jetty, mud flats and 10 metre tides.
And by afternoon tea, we were back in Broome and ‘civilisation’ and the end of our fortnight in the Kimberley. I hope you enjoyed the journey. It was certainly more than a series of grand landscapes – it was a place of rich and deep history, too.
And as a final treat, we got to ride a helicopter back to the start of the walk.
We strapped ourselves in, since the back seat was once again door-less.
But the view of the falls was priceless.
With all that blue water, you would think that the falls are a good place for a dip. You can swim, but only in the upper pools – saltwater crocodiles may be lurking in the lower pools.
We got a bird’s eye view of the track we had walked on.
And five minutes later, we touched down!
The falls (and the helicopter) was my picture of the day.
We walked across the plateau – it was a bit uneven in places, but at least not too steep.
Much of the landscape was dry stone country, but things changed when we reached a river.
This pond was at the top of Big Mertens Falls. The waterfall was dry but there was still a bit of water about.
This was my picture of the day.
We turned off the Gibb River Road on to Kalumburu Road northwards, and that was when the fun started. My goodness, weren’t we bumped around in the bus! The road was very straight for the most part, but the corrugations on the road were jarring and constant.
Plus, there were quite a few water crossings.
No big vans up there!
Eventually we reached the turn-off to Mitchell Plateau. Our campsite for the night thankfully isn’t far away now. This road to nowhere was my picture of the day.
At El Questro we camped by the Pentacost River. It was a little oasis, and the first thing in the morning was the best time to capture this tranquil setting.
However tranquility was no more by mid-afternoon. As the temperature climbed past 30C, everyone was interested in a freshwater dip.
The tranquility of the morning was my picture of the day.
The Gibb River Road is an old stock route, but these days it’s a highway of sorts. Despite it being only 50% or so sealed, road trains, tour buses, and hundreds of four-wheel drive vehicles with camper trailers run along its length every day in the Dry. You get a good idea of how busy it can get at Pentacost River crossing.
It’s a pretty enough place, with the Cockburns in the background, but it is sure busy! Nevertheless, it inspired me to paint a few works. The first is the crossing with a sunset sky (yes, Kimberley sunsets are that colour) which I did on tour.
The second is a larger painting that I did once at home. I could help but put a few boabs in for good measure.