Lucy Vader imbues her work with an affinity for the rural landscape, particularly the benign nobility of sheep. 

Story + Photos Therese Hall 

It’s late on a summer afternoon and the smoke from surrounding bushfires sits heavily on the landscape. Lucy Vader strides across a parched paddock, heading back to her Liverpool Plains (NSW) sheep-station studio after an outdoor sketching session. Suddenly she stops and points skywards. “Look, a murmuration,” she says. 

Almost imperceptible in the haze is a distant flock of birds, twisting in and out of sight according to shifts in the light. This subtle phenomenon reflects an integral element of Lucy’s art. “We don’t fully understand the way we see,” she says. “There’s an illusionary nature to everything.” 

Lucy’s work as a landscape artist echoes this esoteric quality. But her richly textured rural scenes illustrate more earthy concerns as well. Lucy has a deep attachment to farming, which her physical immersion in this harsh drought-affected landscape exemplifies. “The rural landscape is a real base of inspiration for me,” she says. 

Lucy, 42, is a respected Australian landscape artist whose visual motif is the sheep – an animal she describes as ‘noble’. “It’s so benign, so tranquil, but so often overlooked,” she says. “I really like animals and my subconscious is noticing animals all the time. And a profound number of animals are sheep, but very few people really look at them.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #129

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2020