I Do Art Discussion No. 10 – “My Australia”

While you are here – please check out my home page!

Australia has the most extreme climate variations of any continent on earth!” (ABC 2. 1999).  As a child and as an adult having lived in Australia all my life, from far northern Queensland in Cooktown and Cairns, and varying other towns/cities along the eastern coast of Australia, born in country NSW and spending most of my teenage and adult life in Melbourne Victoria – I have witnessed such variations.

During 2006/2007, whilst working for Belgravia, I travelled with my husband through Southern Queensland, coastal NSW and country Victoria – Australia.  I saw much of eastern Australia during one of its driest periods of time in recorded history. What was most striking, was the lack of water; especially in the rivers and creeks.  When I was a very young girl, I had travelled with my family, the same travel routes, a number of times, where water was in abundance. It was very saddening and served as a deep reminder to me that we, meaning Australians, need to value and preserve our water supply – this resource that can be so limited in one season and so plentiful in another.

This work travel experience inspired me to paint the following abstract painting in memory of that trip.  In memory of a land I love so much…

Painting No. 14 Titled “Australia” Apr/May 2008
Acrylic on Canvas
92cms Length x 92cms Wide x 3cms Deep
Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson
NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

Australia is well noted for its floods, draughts and bush fires causing hardship to anyone affected during these natural disasters. Dorothea Mackellar’s famous Australian poem “My Country” was written by her when she was just 19 while home sick in England (Mackellar’s. 2011).  The poem talks of a longing for one’s homeland, a love and a passion for the land its self and a deep understanding that it is the land that sustains life. This poem is a reminder to me that I and fellow Australians, need to cherish our land, treasure our country!  It has never been so important in our time, to do so for future generations.  As a child growing up in Australia, I heard Dorothea Mackellar’s poem recited many times and every time I heard it and even today when I hear it, her poem pulls at my heart-strings. Especially the most famous section of the poem that starts with “I love a sunburnt country….

My Country

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Author Dorothea Mackellar (Dorothea Mackellar. 2011)

The below ABC 2 Documentary “Australia – Eye of the Storm – La Nina” (1999) is part of a series about “La Nina a climate phenomena, the sister of El Nino (ABC 2. 1999).  Where El Nino left drought, La Nina causes floods, massive cyclones and endless rain.  This YouTube Documentary is about the “story of Australia’s unique creatures and how they cope with this catastrophe” (ABC 2. 1999).

My abstract painting is really about my relationship with my home country Australia.  How beautiful and unique she is – how I have witness the seasons.  How as a child she was my friend.  How I fear for her future…

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson


Mackellar, D. (2011). Poem My Country. Retrieved July 1, 2014 from http://www.dorotheamackellar.com.au/archive/mycountry.htm

Ga. Gov. (n.d). Map of Australia. [Image ID: 1073.jpg]. Retrieved July 1, 2014 from http://www.ga.gov.au/images/GA1073.jpg

ABC 2. (1999). Australia – Eye of the Storm – La Nina.  Series/Documentary 1 of 4. [YouTube]. Retrieved July 13, 2014.

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