Walgett painter Annie Murray talks about her art and collective art group she mentors

Annie Murray: painter

Annie Murray’s works echo life on the land and the wide range of inspiration and stories that lie within the wide open plains of western NSW. Working both independently and as part of the Walgett Art Group, Annie says life on the land and the people who live on it are a constant source of inspiration for her.

Aiming to celebrate and recognise the vast landscape and the people who live in and around the district, Annie says she tries to divide her time between her own individual art practice, mentoring the Walgett Art Group and her role on the family farm 70 kilometres outside of Walgett.

For me art is all or nothing, I’ve always been keen on art but when the art group was established was when I started painting seriously.

Annie says for her, and many in her art group, art can be an all-consuming part of their lives and that striking the balance has been found in being part of the Walgett Art Group and allocating quality time to practice whether at the group or sitting down at the dining table in her home.

We started the group in 2002 and it has been great. I’ve enjoyed all it has had to offer. I’ve been involved in three Bulldust to Bitumen art shows and we’ve also been involved in two St Vincent’s Hospital (Sydney) exhibitions.”

Annie says the road to understanding for all partners and husbands that Thursday is a no-go day (except in emergencies) has slowly been accepted and understood.

It took a while (to create an understanding with her husband), and I think everyone was the same, but quite a few of us are quite dedicated and our painting days are quite sacred. Most importantly we’ve got a great group of people who are doing it and we have a lot of fun.

It has been something that has grown slowly and steadily. It started with Georgie Burton giving us watercolour lessons before she left Walgett and (once she did) we didn’t want to stop there, we wanted to keep going. So, we just kept the ball rolling by doing exhibitions and lots of workshops. We’ve produced our own calendars and then those proceeds have gone to the hospital. We’ve also been involved in a fundraiser capacity; we’ve bought a lot of equipment for aged care, for babies and just lately we bought two 24hour heart monitors.

Not stopping at simply fundraising and exhibiting locally, the art group was invited by Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries MP, to exhibit alongside artists from the districts of Warren and Mungindi in April at Parliament House, Sydney.

A necessary component of a successful artist, Annie says it is always important for the art group, and the artists themselves, to have something to work towards.

We’ve always got something happening. If it’s not a workshop or an exhibition there’s always something, be it a calendar or a fundraiser. We’ve always got something to work towards because otherwise, if you don’t have a purpose it doesn’t really happen.â

Individually, Annie says her most inspired medium is watercolour as it’s easily transportable and easy to work with.

I’ve tried all the other mediums and I’ve tried print making and enjoy all the others but watercolours are so handy. It’s so practical and easy to have out and to put away. It’s not acrylic which dries so fast or oils that dry so slowly it’s just very easy I think and very transportable.