Lucy Culliton: What travel has taught me

Lucy Culliton: What travel has taught me


I was in the National Gallery in London's Trafalgar Square in 2000. It was the 1st year after I finished art school back then. I was in the Corot room and saw from behind a familiar shape and said "Hello Jan." I had been in art school with Jan and neither of us knew we would both be in London at that time. We hugged and kissed and shed a happy tear in the little room filled with beautiful intimate Corot paintings.


I made some paintings of my potted cactus collection and craved more so I took myself to Tucson Arizona to paint cactus in their natural environment. Long making a painting meant I saw plenty of wildlife including a bob cat, coyote ,a rattlesnake , javelina, road runner and a hummingbird that hovered for ages as it was attracted to my paint palette.


I travelled In 2011 with my art dealer Ray Hughes to Europe. Ray really knew art and was always hungry for more. We had a packed schedule. Our agenda was to visit altar pieces in churches and tribal African art in museums. At breakfast Ray mentioned "Cranach" I said I don't want a beer." "No Cranach was a painter" he replied he was talking of Lucas Cranach the Elder a German Renaissance artist examples of whose work we had just seen. Sometimes less is more.


The Australian Wildlife Conservancy invited me and a bunch of other painters to Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary in 2013. We were each to make a major work to sell as a fundraiser. The first morning, with minimal tools in my art kit, we were flown by a man called Butch (usual job – heli-mustering) pre-dawn to watch the sun rise over breathtaking wilderness. And a couple of scientists made us breakfast on that bluff as well.

Lucy Culliton is an Australian painter known for her still life and landscape works. She will share some of her skills on a unique tour of of Central Australia with Traveller readers in September.

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