Former station manager Chris McClelland creates intricate pencil artworks of animals and people. 

Story John Dunn   Artwork Chris McClelland

When Chris McClelland retired after 21 years managing Tupra station in the Riverina, he began a new career as an artist, and is now internationally acclaimed for his intricate pencil drawings. 

Recognition came quickly. Artists for Conservation invited him to exhibit in New York and he was made a member of the city’s prestigious worldwide Society of Animal Artists. He spoke at Warnborough College’s annual Conference of the Arts in Canterbury, England, taught at the School of St Jude in Tanzania, and completed many assignments for African Safari magazine. His work has also won countless awards around Australia.

Most of Chris’s works take 300–350 hours to complete. He is now mainly drawing Australian pastoral scenes, often including homesteads, shearing, owners and staff. In 2010 he was artist-in-residence at North Tuppal station near Tocumwal as 72 blade shearers re-enacted Tom Roberts’ iconic painting Shearing the Rams. 

“My lifetime on the land has complemented my art,” he says. “It has enabled me to understand so much better the animals that live there and to bring them to life.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #138

Outback Magazine: August/September 2021