Down On The Farm…

Panorama of Voase's farm Lemon Myrtle plantation

For over almost five decades this farm has been an integral part of life for my family and the Voase family who built it from the bare hillsides and the forests around it. We, a couple of dozen young families, moved onto the land from the city back then looking for a country life, all at about the same time.

We built our houses together, at times helping each other. We engaged in the local life, sports and entertainment, and just got on with it. For some years it went well for us but we eventually had to return to near-city living. The Voase family and many of the others were able to stick with the land, but we never lost sight of those hopes and dreams and have been regular visitors to the valley, and this farm.

We also returned to our own small property in a different part of the valley some years later. Throughout all those years a few pieces of art and hundreds of photos were created that in their own way tell part of the Voase farm story. They built the enterprise from the ground up along with the garden and anything else they had to do to make a country life.

With that endeavour some things drift off into the earth; old fences, obsolete machinery and sheds, adding to the charm of what is left there now.

Watercolour of farm shed.

This shed is the smallest one of three on the property. It almost encloses a tractor and does cover from the weather a vast array of bits and pieces, leftover fencing and building materials and farming stock-in-trade. A true bush-built Aussie shed – a small “barn” by overseas terminology but here in Australia, it’s a shed.

It’s the “bush-built” aspect that interested me most – I could have just grabbed some paint and brushes and headed for the newer shed next door to this one, or wandered up the hill the other way past the homestead to the much larger extraction shed used for their Lemon Myrtle oil.

Underneath all that corrugated iron and fencing wire is a unique piece of Aussie farm building construction technique – undoubtedly informed by a few beers along the way. So I painted the inside too. A bit of work on the composition (the pile of stuff, the most useful viewpoint etc etc), adjustments to light and shade (greys) a few mistakes and corrections and Bob’s your uncle [Aussie slang for “job’s done”].

Inside view of shed

If it looks complicated it is and no-one of sound mind should bother – I must be crazy… Lovingly painted in acrylics on canvas, and I have to add that at least one of the tubes of paint was over 50 years old and still quite useful, a remnant of an earlier life as an illustrator.

The Voase farm offers up many opportunities for more pictures, like this study of some cattle mowing their way past one of the dams on the farm in the morning light, just waiting for some paint and canvas, and the opportunity to get started on it…

Cattle passing the dam