Ross River Creative Camp September 2018

This was our first time at Ross River Resort.  For me it was a most enjoyable camp. Of course, it’s always a thrill to explore new terrain and the fact that Charlie and I didn’t have to provide the food was a bonus. But it was enjoyable for more than either of those obvious reasons, it was really that the location exceeded my expectations on pretty much all levels.

We discovered many beautiful places quite close to camp that I only vaguely knew existed. Each late afternoon we would venture out in the ‘Don’ (our big vehicle) down dusty red tracks to arrive at some monumental rock formation. They rise out of the landscape like jagged, crumbling walls, turning red in the late light. Lee and Graham the managers gave us directions to these hidden gems and were extremely helpful and easy going in all respects. The food was good, really good and plentiful! The cabins were comfortable, roomy and cool, their ‘quirkiness’ charming rather than off-putting. There were some very hot days forecast for that week but even these seemed more tolerable than I anticipated.

I delighted in the company of many creative folk who feel like friends now as they have been with us so many times and we enjoyed very much the company of 3 new faces, who seemed to fit in very easily. Meal times, in the old homestead dining room, separate from the main dining hall, were alive with invigorating conversation.  We also had our own fire to retreat to, to watch the sun go down on the ranges, or the stars after dinner, so it still felt a bit like camping. The only thing we missed was Anna, our wonderful bush-camp assistant!

The variety and quality of work created was remarkable as you will see. All the ‘old hands’ chose to work quite independently of me, venturing off into the landscape each day and coming back with stories and work to inspire us all. We had two keen photographers on board who focussed solely in this medium. Bob Williamson also made photo manipulation on his laptop, thanks to the luxury of unlimited power.  I do hope they send me some of their work so I can include it in the slideshow below!

I pulled my usual tricks out of the bag for those who chose to ‘play with me’ in the marquee: oil pastel and acrylic ink, ink and a stick, large ink paintings, making concertina books, natural dyeing, and ‘frottage’ (rubbing trees and rocks with graphite and paper). I even indulged my most recent obsession; needle felting birds, in this case a pair of scarlet robins, though no one else joined me.

We took trips out into the surrounding country to Trephina Gorge, John Hayes Rock Hole and Ndahla Gorge. Everyone worked ‘au plea air’ in these beautiful places as well as other spots they found closer to the homestead. Everywhere the rock formations are extraordinary, elegant lines dressed with the texture of spinifex and mulga. It was extremely dry but still very beautiful. The cattle and brumbies looked a bit forlorn in their empty supermarket but still pretty fat considering, with new calves and foals at foot.

All in all, it was a great location and a lovely experience. So we are all set to do it again next year.

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