Jo Duncan

Jo Duncan, Kookaburras Garden

Jo Duncan, Kookaburra's Garden (2009, acrylic)

Art Form: painting

Lives: Sunset Strip

Jo Duncan is a self-taught artist who lives on Menindee Lake at Sunset Strip. Her art reflects her love of local wildlife and scenery. Birds and native flora are recurring features in her paintings.

Jo regularly exhibits with the Willyama Art Society and has had exhibitions in Menindee and Broken Hill. A number of her paintings are available at her online website and at Art on Argent Gallery in Broken Hill.

What inspired you to move to the remote village of Sunset Strip?

I was living on the Central Coast of NSW when my sister and her family moved here. I came out here for a holiday and loved the place so much that I stayed.

What do you enjoy most about living out here?

The scenery and the people. The quietness, the solitude, the wildlife, the birds.  You see emus walking along the beach and kangaroos and all sorts of things. There has been a lot more wildlife since the water came back [in 2010 after a long drought].

Tell us about your art.

I paint wildlife and scenery from the local area. I usually begin by taking photos and then one out of 50 or so has the 'wow' factor and I start from there. I work on the background of the painting first, which takes a few days to get done with all the layers. Then I add in trees, birds and-or gumnuts. (I especially like doing gumnuts!)

I'm compelled to do the art, I feel driven by a force. When I see something beautiful I think, "I must paint that".

What effect has living in the Central Darling had on your artistic practice? 

It's had a big effect as I've turned from a part-time artist into a full-time artist.

Sunset Strip is away from the busyness, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here you can go for a walk if you need to find some inspiration.

Has your style changed since you moved to Sunset Strip?

It's developed over the years living here. When I lived on the Central Coast I'd paint wildflowers and native plants from photos; but it's not the same quality.  Here I don't have to go far for inspiration, I can just paint what's in front of me. Finding inspiration in books or magazines is totally different to painting from real life.

I also started writing dates on my paintings because the scenery always changes here. Since the drought broke, what used to be a dry dust bowl in front of my house is now water everywhere.

Edited from an interview with Lisa Andersen, 15 October 2010.