When we were brainstorming ideas for a limited edition wine label, we were really eager to capture the beauty of the Moorabool Valley and highlight the unique aspect of our prospective cellar door. As long-time admirers of art, we’ve long-known Natalie Anderson and she immediately came to mind as someone we would love to capture the region and illustrate our limited edition cellar door wine labels.
We were so thrilled when Nat came on board to collaborate on the limited edition labels and we are so proud of what she has come up with.
We spoke to Nat about her talents as an artist, her collaboration with Austin’s and her life in the Barrabool Hills.
Meet Natalie Anderson
Nat Anderson is local to Geelong and lives closeby to the Austin’s vineyard. Her art practice is driven by a desire for lifelong learning and a connection to country. As a self-taught artist, Nat is captivated by the landscape and ocean that surrounds the Geelong region, and the transformative way of encountering the natural world and the sustained effort to understand its phenomena through the powers of human perception.
Her work captures elements within a landscape that are both ancient and timeless, in a context of ever-changing natural phenomena. It is this tension between change and timelessness that keeps her coming back to the ocean, vast plains and expansive Australian skies. In both her artworks created for Austin’s, her focus lies where the horizon meets the sky and she captures the landscape so beautifully. You can’t help but breathe in, relax and feel like you’re there, in that moment.
Come and Catch up with Nat
Nat, we were so excited when you came on board for this special project of ours. Thanks for taking the time out so we can get to know a little more about you.
You were born in Melbourne, what brought you to Geelong?
I moved to Geelong for a few reasons – my parents had moved down earlier and I ended up getting my first job out of Uni here – and also I loved the place from the moment I saw it! Anywhere you can drive down the main street and see the sea at the bottom of it has my vote. I’ve lived in a few places growing up including Outer east Melbourne, Sydney, and Wollongong but Geelong was where I wanted to stay!
And what does life in the Barrabool Hills look like for you?
Life in the Barrabool Hills is big skies and rolling hills, becoming obsessed with the weather, beautiful neighbours, dogs, bonfires and drinks (with said neighbours) and generally feeling pretty blessed!
That sounds incredible, especially the bonfire/drinks part 😉 So, let’s talk art. As a self-taught artist, have you always had an interest in art? And how did you get started?
Always – as a child I used to draw and remember drawing horses obsessively for a while. After VCE art I kind of ditched it for a while and got myself a ‘sensible’ career as a Speech Pathologist. Eventually around about the time my two youngest were heading into primary school I found myself yearning to create again. I started by travelling to a little studio up three flights of stairs in Brunswick street, Fitzroy every Monday night after work to paint with artist, Adriane Strampp. I did that for four years and I was ground in very traditional techniques of still life and life drawing, and all the rest over good wine and cheese. It was a great start and I was hooked.
I follow so many artists and find each person’s style so intriguing. How did you find your artistic style and did you find you were you influenced by anyone or anything?
I think you only find your style after many, many hours of painting. You know the old saying that it takes 10000 hours to master something? I think that is very true whether it be music or painting or winemaking 😉 You just have to put the time in. There are no shortcuts despite the seductive thought that some people are just instantly talented or gifted. As the famous English landscape painter Turner put it “The only secret I have got is damned hard work” .
I have many painting ‘heroes’ that influence me and that I am very inspired by – Turner and Constable, of course but many of them contemporary – like the mesmerising work of Lucy Roleff for example – and Cricket Saleh (Geelong’s own treasure). Their meticulous, meditative approach and the pathos they inject into their work is mind blowing. Landscape artists like Tassie Phillip Wolfhagen and Chris Langlois are masters of their craft and a constant inspiration to me.
Does each piece of artwork go through the same process or is it a little bit different every time?
They all start out exactly the same way – with a undercoat (ground) of burnt sienna. I have something in my mind and I sketch it out roughly & try to make it happen in paint. For commissions and works that need to reference a specific place – I visit and wander and take reference photos …and then I put the photos aside and try to paint the sense of place, atmosphere and colours that impressed me on the day.
Take note, purchase burnt sienna undercoat. What is the most rewarding thing about being an artist?
A couple of times I have had people get a bit teary when they are presented with a painting they have commissioned or just purchased and that to me is everything – If I can evoke an emotion like that through something I have spent hours creating – that is so very rewarding. All art is really just another form of communicating or telling a story and so if I can connect my story with someone else’s using this language of paint and if they get it – really get it….I am constantly amazed and enchanted by that!
In painting the canvases for Austin’s what were some of the first things you noticed about the landscapes? And was there anything in particular you were keen to capture?
Predictably perhaps, it was all about the huge wonderful Sutherlands Creek sky, full to the brim with painterly cumulus clouds – and the colours of those vines – the vines were in various stages of russet red when I was there and I remember thinking ‘could this be any more perfect?’ It was almost instant in my mind what I wanted to paint – the long low horizon dominated by the sky and the promise of rain; the harvest and the associated joy of the harvest in the vines; and the feeling of being part of a tradition and a story.
For people wanting to view more of your work, where can they find you?
Locally, I am lucky enough to be represented by Boom Gallery, Newtown and Salt Contemporary Art in Queenscliff. For International or Interstate friends, Van Rensburg Galleries – and to just keep up with what I’m painting, my dogs and my garden – my instagram is ‘natandersonartist’.
Tell us about your favourite wine, or do you have a favourite?
Arguably, i love wine a bit too much! Very difficult to narrow it down but I would probably say a Pinot Noir would be my fave.
Picture yourself on your deck, sipping on a glass of Pinot Noir. Who’s with you? What’s on the platter in front of you?
My husband Shane, my three lanky girls, Sunny the Border Terrier, Gus the fatty white bulldog, my gorgeous Barrabool Hill neighbours, with all the kids & of course my besties Peter and Fiona, would be keeping me company for sure! All socially distanced of course!! 🙂 On the platter are locally grown figs with fried greek Saganaki drizzled with honey, lots of gooey triple brie and home made quince paste. Some of my neighbours home made naan bread and a big bowl of twisties for the kids.
Ok wow, when we asked that question I didn’t expect to be fantasizing about saganaki and naan bread!! Yum! And last one, what’s one thing you want to see at our cellar door, other than your name on the door?
I would love to see a big open fireplace for those beautiful slow Sunday’s in the winter time when a trip to your favourite Cellar Door is the best thing about your weekend.
Thanks so much for joining us, we can’t wait to share a wine with you at our cellar door in 2021! Become a Founding Member today and purchase a dozen limited edition wines, illustrated by Natalie Anderson.
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