Cloncurry artist Ruth Chaplain uses wild colours to depict station life. 

Story Vicki Wilson

You might not see purple and rust-orange cows in the paddocks of north-west Queensland, but Ruth Chaplain has a knack for making them seem almost real. She expertly layers bold acrylic hues to capture animals, people and scenes from the bush with a refreshing twist. Her work oozes love for life on the land.

Ruth lives with her husband Robert, a fifth-generation grazier, and their three young children on Wynberg station, 30km south-east of Cloncurry. When she started painting late at night in their bedroom two years ago, Ruth never imagined her passion would grow into a successful business. The former communications professional was simply trying to create some time for herself to remember who she was before she became a wife, mother and part of a 28,000ha family cattle enterprise.

“It felt like a luxury at first, but it’s evolved naturally to become an almost full-time pursuit and a proper side income,” Ruth says. “I always knew I loved to be creative, but to be building a business and to actually think of myself as an artist is just crazy.” 

This story excerpt is from Issue #141

Outback Magazine: February/March 2022