PAINTING WALGETT IN SUNRISE SONGS, STORY BY CHRISTINE ONWARD 0
Welcome to a new series of outback stories promised to you a long time ago but repeatedly delayed due to my obstinate perfectionism (or procrastination,equally true). After a year of struggles and too high expectations from my side, I decided to let thoughts flow by freely and memories write by themselves in the way they want. I hope they eventually make sense to a point where I will be excited to tell the next episode and you will be eager to return and read it.
The journey I wanted to write (and paint) about took place a year ago in the outback Australia, more precisely in the northern part of NSW. It lasted 7 weeks and it was a blast!
For a person coming from the green pristine Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe, working in the bare fields of the far-far-away Australia was undoubtedly a challenge I was prepared to face. The huge emptiness of space, the scorching temperatures, the summer's dead bushes, and the desperation to survive of all living things had such a huge impact on who I was to become!
To honour the occasion, I decided to lay each meaningful experience of the outback in a painting. I wanted to add together the old me and my world as it was before back in Romania, the astonishing colours of Australia, its depth of landscapes, the victory of living- all in a series of paintings, celebrating me – the me I had become.
"Walgett-Sunrise Songs", painting by Christine Onward . More details Here
FIRST TIME IN WALGETT
Walgett on the map, 650 km away from Sydney, right at the gate of the Australian outback
We arrived in Walgett late in the night. The drive to the town had been slow and challenging. 100 km on dirt road, the dark night around us, kangaroos jumping back and forth ahead of us, and a GPS with personality only made the trip seem to last forever.
We made it to Walgett after midnight. Streets were dark and quiet, not a single man passing by. Shops had iron grills at windows and lights were off. Even the motel entrance had iron gates, secured with a big lock for which we had to recall a long code and still debate the numbers an hour later in the dark.
Dinner was quite frugal: cold chips from an early breakfast at the petrol station, wrapped in an oily paper and tasting like old jelly, some cheese, too sour from the heat, and the usual beer, to help us fall asleep.
Baby Caesar spending the night with us in a NO DOGS room (who can swear he is a dog though, most of the times he behaves like a human)
I slept that night in Walgett with the windows open to let the scents of the eucalyptus trees come inside. A bird kept shouting sad songs in the empty night, kept talking to me, and I let the sadness sink inside, because there was no escape, only the red road, over and over again until the end of my days...
THE SUNRISE SONGS
Photo taken close to Walgett - dirt road on the way to the property of Mungunya
Morning; 5 o’clock rise. I can still feel the taste of eucalyptus essences on the lips and bird's sad song in the ears.
Shirt on, boots on, cap on, insect repellent and a lot of sunscreen spread to whatever spot left uncovered. Bags back in the trunk, work instruments in the ute; time for one more long drive in the unknown.
I panic and I want to cry, as I always do when I think of unknown.
“It's just an adventure, I say, and who doesn’t like adventures”…
And off we are, this yet ANOTHER day...
The flowing artesian waters of Mungunya
Right outside the town of Walgett I opened eyes on a big sun rising from the bushes. Few cows grazing quietly under a tree, doves’ songs coming to life from all around the bushes… and suddenly I feel I am part of it. I do belong. And there is nothing in the world that can take this moment away from me: the place where I first belonged.
Living the life of the outback: unspoiled beauty and endless reds
On the radio a song starts. I want to imagine it as a sign for me, and for everyone else who was welcoming the day in song of birds and golden rays of sunrise: Only a fool breaks his own heart…
The start of a new day with Walgett left behind
I ripped through the bare red of the desert to let the magic of the moment come to life: the day when I BELONGED.
I added flowers in the empty trees of Walgett, and I added leaves with golden dots to shine happily in the sun.
The red dust, I turned it into lands of merry colours and joyful patterns, the way I knew them to be like back home in the Carpathian Mountains.
And all the sunrise songs and happiness of living, I gathered them together in this fantastic bird with golden feathers.
There is always a victory in us, we only need to find it.
After all… only a fool…
Stories of the Outback : Living Life in Own Sacred Ways 2
Every journey to the outback I had so far was a new discovery. I am not talking about the discovery of new (extraordinary!) places only. I am talking about discovering new lessons of life, the lessons you carry with you throughout life, think of them, use them, and, at meaningful times, share them with others.
This year’s outback discovery was meeting people who chose to live their lives on their own terms; people who chose to live as if other’s rules of living did not exist but their own. Out of all other ways people chose to live, their own was sacred.
It’s a wonderful lesson to learn: regardless of the rules of life others obey to, the one you choose for yourself is sacred and is worth standing for.
Memorable travels in outback Australia: road from Bourke to Wanaaring (right before the sunset)
TALKING ABOUT M.
Meeting M. was a moment long sought for. We had tried to call her a few times, unsuccessfully though. A couple of times we had had driven to her farm. She was not there. The gates were locked.
But every try was worth it as we discovered when we met M. the first time.
AT THE GOONERY
Entrance to the Goonery farm (under clear blue skies)
Reaching M’s house was quite an adventure, as recent rains made access to the barracks really tricky.
A hundred metres drive from the gate and we turn a sharp left. A large muddy pond spreads in front of us right from the middle of the road. At the other end of the pond a white car is bogged into the mud all the way up to the windows.
Rare occasions of flood in the area
We drive carefully on the edge of the muddy waters and continue on for a few hundred metres on bare dirt road. All around us there are old vehicles, rusty engines, metal scraps, and piles of useless wires.
I’m beginning to think of snakes hiding between all this strange gathering of disregarded stuff. Apart from snakes, rats also come to my mind. And that is terrifying.
As we get closer to the house, everything becomes even more cluttered. Old tanks, water pumps from old times, rusty trucks, 50 years old or more, make access to M.’s place even more trickier. In the distance I see animal paddocks, few horses running free, and a couple of dogs resting in the shade.
It is so quiet.
M.’s house is hidden behind a tall fence and wild vegetation.
As far as I can see, the house walls are scratched and torn; some of the windows are covered with plastic boards and rugs. It’s sad, painfully sad to watch all these.
We call M. out in lower after some careful thought. Who is this lady of the scraps and what she might look like?
She comes out quickly with a large smile on her face. She looks tall, taller than me at least, small built, with short grey hair.
Her clothes are old and torn. Grey patches cover the holes in her over sized jeans. The collar of a once yellow shirt is revealed and I can’t decide if it’s actually dirty or grey from too much use:
She had surgery. Then went to Dubbo to help a friend who was struggling with cancer.
I’m watching her talk quickly with large gestures and continuous smiles. Her happy demeanour is contagious and I begin to love her, despite previous concerns. I feel no pity for her, no sadness for this life she chose. I only love her because she is nothing but light and full-on positive energy. And she is humble and eager to help.
She is the master of what she chose to be.
THE PAINTING OF "QUEEN MAGG"
The memory of M. remained fresh in my mind for many weeks. I didn’t know what to do with what I had seen at the Goonery. I didn’t know if it was sadness, or bravery, or illness what I had seen. All these were with me, tearing me apart, until I decided to paint M., to give her a new life, a life on my own terms.
I cut through the bare scene of red empty sands and placed inside a merry garden of flowers, as M. deserves. Between such flowers I gave life to a new M., to “Queen Magg”.
I threw the torn grey clothes away and gave her a magical dress painted in joyful patterns and happy colours. As for the eyes, the tired empty eyes I met at the Goonery, I wanted to give them life too. I wanted them to shine, to share hope, and share love. I wanted her to be remembered as she deserves: as a queen.
"Queen Magg", painting by Christine Onward. Description and other details are Here
Disclaimer: none of the photos used in this article belong to the Goonery (except for the entrance at the farm). The name of the described character was hidden to protect her privacy. Apart from that, the story is real and presented through my own lenses. If you feel you need to know more, please send an email on email@example.com.
Short video about the painting is uploaded on: https://www.instagram.com/christine.onward/?hl=en
Rocking the World – Australian Artists Making Their Mark in the World of Painted Rocks 4
The Indigenous art of Australia is considered to be the oldest unbroken tradition of art in the world.
Some Indigenous rock art paintings are estimated to be around 40,000 years old. They are located in the Pilbara Region and Olary district of South Australia.
Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley, Western Australia could be the oldest in the world. More details HERE
Original Aboriginal rock art "Dinuni" by Biripi artist Russel Saunders OAM
ROCKING THE WORLD – Australian Artists Making their Mark in the World of Painted Rocks
There are a great number of extraordinary Australian rock artists whose talent and expertise have reached the farthest and widest corners of the world. For all their hard work and passion I can only show my respect and gratitude. However, in this article I am only aiming at talking about five of the many Australian artists whose work I greatly admire:
ELSPETH MCLEAN – ETHEREAL TOUCH OF COLOURS
The critically acclaimed rock painting artist, Elspeth McLean of Perth - Australia has been known to create some of the most vibrant and hypnotic designs. In the last years her original approach to rock painting has made the greatest impact onto the rock art community worldwide.
What I mostly admire about Elspeth’s work is not only the extraordinary dotting skills she never fails to amaze us with, but also the array of colours she puts together to create positive moods. In her art I find energy, passion, strength, and motivation to overcome all things that come with life.
KARIN GETAZ – FLUID EMOTIONS IN BRILLIANT HUES
From the Australian Tropics in the far North of Queensland - Australia, Karin Getaz has been “conquering” the world of painted rocks with mesmerizing elliptical constructions and other harmonious dot designs.
I am always in awe of how, with the graceful movements of her brush, Karin creates romantic moods. It is art that allows emotions to flow hypnotically with colours and invite you to dream.
Art of fluid emotions and brilliant colours by Karin Getaz | Instagram |
TAMMY WARD – LOVABLE, "AWKWARD", AND FUN
Tammy Ward is an artist with an inexhaustible energy to create and offer joy to the world. The electrifying colours she uses as well as her brilliant imagination and attention to detail have attracted a considerable amount of attention in our community of rock painters. Tammy’s flamboyant pirates, dragons, the beautiful owls and bright fish are some of the most sought after rock collectibles in the world! If you travel to Queensland, Australia make sure you take a moment to visit some of the local markets in Gladstone or Hervey Bay to see her joyful works of art.
Fun art in electrifying colours by artist Tammy Ward at Awkward Art Painted Rocks | Facebook | Instagram |
SCOTT DODSON – ROCKS WITH WHIMSICAL TEMPER
What I mostly admire about Scott’s rocks is that you can always expect them to talk to you!
His exquisite rock art will charm you with its energy, originality, and youth. You will find in Scott’s rock collection some of the most dazzling characters: mummies, werewolves, scary clowns, the bewitching gnomes and so on. With bright blocks of colours, Scott’s rocks are given different personalities; some will smile at you, some will challenge you with endearing looks.They will all make you love them. This is what Scott brings magically to the world: life on rocks.
JAN SINGLETON – LOVE FOR ALL LIVING THINGS
Jan is an amazingly skilled artist who has never failed to depict the most adorable animals on rocks! Her talent and passion for everything she creates is more than captivating. There are so many rocks to love in Jan’s collection: little dogs and cats, owls, hippos, seals, panda bears and so many others! Just have a look and smile.
CHRISTINE ONWARD - ROCKS OF "THE DIAMOND"As for me, I owe it all to Diamond Beach in Australia. I lived there for nearly three years and I am grateful for each day I went to the beach just to find the most amazing rocks in the most beautiful shapes in colours. These rocks have changed my life into what I am now: a passionate admirer and creator of art on rocks.
I hope you enjoyed my invitation to know some of the Australian rock artists I love. If you too live and create art on rocks in Australia, please let me know. I would love to continue the series with a new set of artist from our country. Thank you.
Celebrating One Year of Community and Love for Rocks - Interview with Parrish Jefferson, Collector and Ardent Supporter of Rock Art 12
Welcome to a new series of Rock Street publications presenting the life and achievements of our rock painters, their latest works of art, rock painting tutorials, and other news from the world of rocks!
Today I have the extraordinary occasion of interviewing the most significant collector of rock art of our days, amazingly supportive person, and activist of kindness in the world of art, Parrish Jefferson.
Exactly a year ago Parrish began her Instagram journey and started collecting painted rocks. Since then she has been encouraging hundreds of artists to continue their work, promoted rock art campaigns, and acquired art works from artists from all around the world! If you are one of those artists who had the chance to meet and talk with Parrish, you will agree that she never failed to show her endless passion for rock art.
Hope you enjoy the reading and her beautifully painted rocks.
Celebrating One Year of Community and Love for Rocks - Interview with Parrish Jefferson, Collector and Ardent Supporter of Rock Art
Who is Parrish Jefferson and how did this passion for art begin?
I'm just a gal from Texas, highly educated but have never been able to keep a stable career due to my husband's job which required frequent reassignments. It allowed me to see much of the world though. They also translated into helping me relate to artists from many places, in every corner of the globe!
A traveler's passion for art - glimpse into part of Parrish Jefferson's collection of rocks from all over the world!
At last estimation I have about 350 rocks! I collect all genres, colors, themes etc., from USA, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Latvia, Korea, Indonesia, every country in Europe. What's heartbreaking is that in some countries postal costs are so high, it isn't even feasible to do business with the artists who live there. It is frustrating for them and myself all the time, unfortunately.
Part of Parrish's rock collection in blue hues
Displaying so many rocks has become really challenging for me. I often display in vignettes featuring certain colors or by theme (such as my Southwestern Style collection or that with a Native American look). I've also collected special bowls from several artists to provide more beautiful displays for rocks. I even have some on wall sconces! It's almost time, however, to purchase some new wall shelves!
Parrish's stunning collection of rocks and the decorative plate in hues of turquoise
Has collecting painted rocks changed your life in any way?Collecting rocks and becoming part of the rock painting community on Instagram has changed my life in so many positive ways I'd never dreamed possible!
It began with a simple first purchase....from Valeria Campagna. Boy, did I set the bar high! I was so impressed, that I posted awful pictures (my fault!) and shared my excitement with the few followers I had. That began one of the most important relationships in my life. Valeria is a dear friend and actually, we will be working together soon on a new project involving Etsy, other artists, and it will include opportunities for new artists as well! That's all I can say at this point, but I'll be making announcements in May.
I also have in the works a world wide 'Rock Olympics' (rather an annual rock painting competition). N.A. More details about this event will be published in a few weeks on this website
With a touch of boho-chic and admirable colours
With the positive feedback received from posting such beautiful works, collecting rocks soon became a passionate hobby! I had to hone my staging and photography skills and learn what a hashtag was! I made an advice sheet for new artists who wanted to make a name and sell Art. Artists then began coming to me for advice, wanting to be featured on my page; this was an honor to me and a happy and productive use of my time. It's been a joy.
Over the last year you have shown tremendous support for rock artists from USA and from across the globe. You frequently tag new artists in your posts, share their achievements, encourage new releases and new campaigns. Why? Where is this desire and energy to help others coming from?
As I collect from established and well known artists as well as beginners, I tend to meet thousands of them, even tangentially! I fully believe that one's motives are what matters in this life of soul-growth. Therefore, helping artists, featuring their art to best highlight its beauty, to support and encourage, to introduce new talents...well, it's a way of paying it forward. Spreading beauty is always a treat! Further, promoting the business side of art is often distasteful to artists, so I help there as much as I can!
I also want people to know that artists have been VERY KIND to me! Not a week goes by without receiving gift rocks I didn't even realize had been sent! I'd estimate at least 30% of my rocks have been gifts. I consider that I'm overpaid in unexpected, generous gifts and say as much when people commend me for helping artists! And by the way, I never charge and never have, for any help. It just wouldn't feel comfortable for me.
Rock art mastered with magnificent skill and patience
I know this is going to be very difficult to respond to, but is there a specific rock in your collection that has a special significance for you or story attached to it that is worth talking about?
I do admit to having one favorite stone. Valeria painted the 'Parrish Rock' inspired by my energy (her words) and it is not only sentimentally the most meaningful rock, but also aesthetically one of the most beautiful rocks you'd ever hope to see! It has a sacred place in my home, with her framed words, and Christine, when I received it, it felt like I had won a Grammy or the Nobel Peace Prize!
Val Campagna, the "Parrish Rock" and framed are Val's words about inspiration and friendship across oceans
Over this last year since your Instagram launching, you have surrounded yourself with a huge number of rock artists of outstanding talent and success. Along the way, some of them have also become good friends. Could you mention some of your artist friends?
They will be so many! I will only mention SOME of my wonderful, talented, and amazing artist friends, I do hope you will jump to check on their accounts for their art works are absolutely divine: Valeria Campagna, Andrea Moebes, Yosy, Purvi Patel, Sandi O., Corrina Marie Canning, Oti's Art Studio, Summer Tan, Vallerie, and special regards to Viola, Karin Getaz and, the Empress, Liona Hotta
Last but not least, knowing so many artists and being involved so deeply in their creative world, what is the message you would like to send to them? Can art change things for the better?
The last words would be about the great therapeutic value of rock painting. Painting on rocks is something everyone should experience. It's calming, fun, creative whether one has innate skill or not.
Recently however consciousness has been raised regarding the ubiquitous problem of art theft. I've done several postings and had dozens of artists contact me in distraught over this issue. Artists, please tag those who inspire you, never take advantage from a peer's design, and finally, if it happens to you... TAKE ACTION! Let's keep this world of rock painting a beautiful thing!
Stunning art works and memorable colours from Parrish Jefferson's collection. Thank you for kindly enchanting us with such marvels and your kind words!
Parrish and I are welcoming your comments in the section below. Also you can make inquiries or add info on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If interested to buy, the rocks for SALE are here.
CHRISTINE ONWARD TALKING ABOUT ROCKSTREET-COLLECTIVE AND HER ROCK PAINTING JOURNEY 10
Life takes us on such extraordinary journeys that we often feel overwhelmed and unable to handle them. I felt this over the last three years more than ever before. I felt as if life was giving birth to a new, completely different me. I felt that I was given another chance and another purpose. I had to find what this was. I had to stop and listen to the beauty of this world. This is how I began painting on rocks.
Photo by Christine Onward. A memorable day in Diamond Beach
I started painting on rocks about three years ago. I had never painted before, unless you want to consider my mere attempts at art in school, just to pass the class really. But my little daughter, a young teenager at that time, was spending most of her time by herself, painting. I wanted to be part of her life so I invited her at the dinner table to paint and share the joy of it together. And we had fun, and stories, and plans… We had the mess, ruined all tablecloths, ate soup with a touch of brush paint, and made memories!
At some point Maria had to reduce the painting time because of her exams. But I kept on going. I kept on painting my little ladybugs, and flowers, and dots, thousand of dots. It felt too good to stop. Somehow, my worries, depression, fears, stress, tiredness… could be managed better. It was therapy.
I paint nearly every day. I generally start and finish a rock in the same day, or I lose the connection with my art. I love the bright colours. I use watercolours, not very expensive fancy ones, to be honest. But the varnish spray with which I seal my rocks thoroughly is of the best quality. Because I want my rocks to last long, be safe outside and well protected from the harsh Australian sun.
I love the medium sized rocks with interesting shapes and smooth surfaces. Here are some of the most beautifully shaped rocks I have painted on so far:
What’s on now?
In time I realised I had to share this amazing journey with somebody else. Someone who felt the same: that rocks, the touch of them, their strength, the silence within them, make you feel better.
I started this Facebook adventure: Christine Onward Decorative Art as my artist page, and a group for rock painters called Colour Therapy.
Colour Therapy was all about art on rocks, colour enthusiasm, and benefits of painting.
Since April 2017 (Can’t believe it’s been only a little over 1 year now!) I met so many rock painters, so many beautiful people, so many stories, and I made so many friends!
RockStreet Collective grew into this amazing media platform, with about 4600 members on Facebook at this moment, 6500 followers on Instagram and growing fast. In RockStreet Collective artists from more than 40 countries across the globe share the joy of showing their art works within the group, inspire others, provide support for the others, and, above all, connect with each other. I want to continue this extraordinary journey.
I want to tell the world that there is beauty in every form of art expression. And if it does well to you and others, then you should keep on doing it. After all, we at RockStreet Collective often say:
Photo and rocks painted by Christine Onward | Buy Here
- Christine Onward
- Tags: aboriginal anxiety art online australia beach buddha christine onward depression diamond beach garden decor holiday home decoration journey meditation outback australia painted rocks painted stones painting photography rock art RockStreet Collective story sunrise the stunner boutique therapy
Story of my painted rock - visiting the land of Turquoise 0
Stones are like treasure chests. They capture inside the purity of the universe, the power of waves, whirling winds, and roughness of sand. We only add our story, with colours, brushes and no words – just love.
This is a story of how and where I painted this rock. Hope you enjoy.