Picture a young boy walking through the Barmah Forest alongside his father, Ken, fishing rod in hand and the wide expanse of the forest surrounding them, broken only by the mighty Murray meandering magnificently through this living canvas. This may well have been the moment that inspired a lifelong love of the Australian bush, and later, a comprehensive and lifelong journey, still being undertaken and captured in beautiful art, across the vast outback of Australia.
Russell was born in Melbourne and grew up in Box Hill, Victoria. He became very familiar with the Heidelberg School’s famous bush camp where the Australian Impressionist period was firmly established by artists such as Arthur Streeton and Walter Withers. It is from artists such as these that provide the inspiration behind Russell’s self-taught, life-like depictions of the Australian outback. In each of his meticulously painted pieces, Russell artfully captures the unique lights and colours that typify the Australian outback in all her glory.
Russell’s early life was drenched in adventure, with every spare moment devoted to bush exploration and fishing throughout country Victoria. He developed an extensive knowledge of the Barmah Forest (near Picola and Nathalia) area on the Murray River where both his parents were born and raised. This experience further developed Russell’s keen eye for the outdoors, with the colours and the structure of the Australian bush beautifully captured in his art.
1991 – Current
Russell left the ‘rat race’ after nearly 3 decades of service and started his own business, in which he still operates today. Always interested in art, it wasn’t until 2003, following an accident, that he picked up a paintbrush and tried his hand at watercolours. Not liking this medium, he soon began painting in oils, trying his hand without any lessons! After producing a few original paintings inspired by his various travels across Australia, he submitted entries to the Camberwell Art Show that same year and was fortunate to have some of his work hung, where they promptly sold. This validation of his extraordinary ability further encouraged him to continue with his painting.
Russell’s love affair with the Australian landscape has enabled him a truly unique way of looking at the outback and the ability to notice light changes, colours and the subtle nuances prevalent in this magnificent wide brown land. His beautiful paintings, painstakingly painted and perfected, reflect his perfectionist nature. His ability to capture the very essence of the Australian outback in his paintings is obvious to those who have seen his art first hand.
In the relative short time that Russell has been painting, he has won a number of awards and sold paintings to private collectors and at art shows.
Contributions to text: D K Porter B.A. Multimedia (RMIT), DIP Graphic Design (Swinburne), DIP ED (Hawthorn).