Julia Roche exposes her huge canvases to sun, wind and rain as she explores the wildness and beauty of Australian landscapes.

Story Sue Wallace  Photo Jeremy Weihrauch

Halfway through completing her large format canvasses, artist Julia Roche exposes them to the wind, sun and rain. These natural processes leave indelible marks on her landscape paintings, helping her explore themes of light, colour and line, and reflecting her passion for the environment. Stand and stare at these immersive paintings and you are drawn in by the way the works capture both the wildness and beauty of Australian landscapes and what shapes them.

Julia, who describes her work as both experimental and preconceived, works from her studio, a repurposed woolshed with tin walls and roof and timber posts, on their family farm, on Wiradjuri Country near Wagga Wagga, in southern NSW. Sixty-year-old kurrajong trees dominate the beautiful garden. 

“My workspace is open, gritty and holds a great deal of history,” she says. “I love working in natural light – the way it creeps in through holes in the corrugated iron.
I also love exposing my work to the elements and seeing what happens next. After the impact of mist or rain, sunlight and debris, the residual forms become imprinted on the canvas, and they retain the physical qualities of the environment. Leaving works exposed to climatic and environmental conditions inherent to the region documents a time and site-specific record of the natural world. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #147

Outback Magazine: February/March 2023