Another Brushmen of the Bush: Eric Minchin

Eric Minchin (1928-1994) is credited with having started the group of painters and who became known as the Brushmen of the Bush and who raised over a million dollars for charities through the sale of their paintings. The Australian Flying Doctors Service was a major beneficiary of their generosity.

Eric Minchin has been described as an effervescent, energetic, lovable and colourful outback character and a truly great Australian...who was completely captivated with the sheer beauty and harshness of the outback.(Wikipedia) I am going to start with Minchin’s *Boolkamatta Creek which I consider his best painting. It captures the drama of the outback, the dryness of the earth in the background but the growth waiting to burst forth with the first drop of rain. And the iconic gum trees, so strong, so majestic against the elements.

Eric Minchin painted mainly around Broken Hill (New South Wales) and like so many artists, was fascinated with the colours and shapes of the countryside and also the great sky above. The skies in his paintings, capturing the great variety of cloud formations, are magnificent. This painting is titled Coach House but the clouds above are gathering, warning the coach passengers they might be in for an interesting journey. And in this painting, the welcome rains breathe new life into the desert. Again Minchin has demonstrated great skill in painting clouds which are challenging as K, one of my students is finding.
After the rain, with the sun shining and the new growth abundant, is such a glorious relief for the earth. This one is Mt Mary Wilpenna Pound in South Australia, the highest point in the Flinders Ranges.
And again, a magnificent flare with the sweep of clouds.
But sometimes Minchin adds a touch of class as shown in Mundi Mindi where just a wisp of cloud is dancing with the landscape.
In contrast, in Storm over Mt Sturt the landscape is almost irrelevant as the threatening storm clouds dominate the scene.

If you want to learn how to paint clouds over Australian landscapes study the paintings of Eric Minchin. Although Minchin’s paintings are all of the Australian landscape, occasionally he changes his palette. This is Gum Vale where the different colours convey a vastly different impression.

In a similar tone is Barrier Range.

I must admit I much prefer his brighter palette. This is a drought scene.
And the remote, lonely Farm Station.
The eternal Gum Tree bravely surviving the drought.

Many people see a great similarity in the landscape of the outback. But these last four images I have chosen because they demonstrate how varied the scenery is if you look closely, as did Eric Minchin.

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on anewman@netspace.net.au or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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