VIDEO: John R Walker deals with the big picture for the first time

BRAIDWOOD artist John R Walker had never seen the full collection of his Terroir: Big Land Pictures exhibition on display, until now. 

The exhibition is 14 years in the making and comprises 13  large canvases and one concertina drawing. The Orange Regional Gallery is the only gallery that has been able to hang all of them, due to its size. 

“I stood back and looked at it and thought, ‘How did I do that’?” Mr Walker said. 

“I think people exaggerate how much artists and musicians know what they’re doing when they’re doing it ... I sort of do.”

One of Mr Walker’s paintings, Dry Dam, has been on show for the last two years in the lobby of the Orange Health Service and the response he received from the display surprised him and reiterated what he was trying to achieve.

“I had a neighbour who is retired but used to be a farmer and he looked at it and said how come you know so much about what it’s like ... and hearing that, that’s better than anything,” he said.


Mr Walker employs the full gamut of paint in his creations including slurries, washes, chunks and crusts of paint. He said he gained inspiration from spending hours walking and riding a bike through the landscapes he wanted to paint. 

He had to build a custom-made workshop to produce the paintings and had never had the opportunity to stand far back enough to see the exhibition in its entirety. 

He owed and dedicated the opportunity to showcase the complete works to late gallery director Alan Sisley. 

He said he visited the Orange Regional Gallery and wanted to display the collection there because it was the only gallery he had seen with the room needed for the works, which are up to five metres by seven metres in size.

“We talked and he said, ‘Yeah mate give it a go’... usually there are 60 pages of forms and bureaucracy but not with him,” he said. 

“He was the sort of Australian to just say give it a go.”

The exhibition will open Saturday from 2pm.

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