WHEN one thinks of the desert, images of sparse, harsh, sweeping dunes of sand come to mind but when one looks at the artwork to come back from the desert in South Australia one quickly realises the land is full of beauty and colour.
For the last 12 months artists from Orange, Lightning Ridge, Mossvale, The Gold Coast and Molong have been painting up a storm from scenes they witnessed in Arkaroola after they were convinced to travel there by Orange artist Joy Engelman.
What was born from those visits has shocked and impressed Ms Engelman beyond what she thought possible.
“It’s been rewarding in so many ways. It’s blown me away,” she said.
“Some artists it’s their very first time painting and it’s wonderful to see them respond to the desert so much.
“The experienced painters have changed and come alive ... some have really freed up.”
Once Ms Engelman saw the Arkaroola for the first time she knew she had to share the experience and she convinced nine women to take their paintbrushes and canvasses along for what turned out to be the first of many trips.
The works will be displayed in Sydney as part of the exhibition called The Wild Women of Arkaroola at 28 Queen Street Woollahra from August 19 to August 25.
With around 80 works set up in two rooms, it will be a giant game of Tetris for Ms Engelman to set up the saloon style exhibition.
The artists include Ms Engelman, Jane Tonks, Cheryl Chapple, Jacquie Wilson, Bev Duncan, Karrin Thurston, Cherelynne Carden, Rozzi Smith and John Cahill.
The prominent location could mean art investors may walk through the doors and discover the next big artist, Mrs Engelman hopes.