From polo and portraits to droving, Rosie Wingrove Johnston has been painting her environment for 20 years.

Story By Kathy Mexted

Sixteen farmers, a baby and a dog lined up near the mailbox at Riversleigh, 20 kilometres west of Forbes, NSW. The 2012 District Exhibits Competition at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show called for entries depicting The Year of the Farmer and Rosie Wingrove Johnston had an idea. That idea wasn’t clear to the assembled mob, mostly Rosie’s neighbours, but they knew to trust the camera-wielding artist who stood before them. Rosie believes those shots captured the essence and diversity of farming in the district. “I produced a design and created a scaled miniature,” she says. “There was ‘the big guy’ who does everything ‘big’ on his farm, the young farmer with dreadlocks, a female farmer with a kelpie, and my neighbours Julie and David Black. I loved Dave’s presence; his stance, big smile and the way he held his daughter. To me they were a classic representation.”
Rosie then roughly painted the scene onto 15 dramatic life-sized panels and, together with project partner ‘Lizzie’ Ridley and other volunteers, used six shades of layered fleece to create a 17-metre x 3m sepia scene. The entry won the People’s Choice Award and the artwork was purchased by Forbes Shire Council to adorn the wall of a new retail complex in town.

This story excerpt is from Issue #80

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2012