Lyndall Bennett

Lyndall Bennett artwork

Art Forms: pastel, watercolour, oils

Lives: On a 200,000 acre cattle station between Wilcannia and Ivanhoe

After growing up on a property outside Broken Hill, Lyndall Bennett has spent the last 48 years living and working with her husband on their cattle station between Wilcannia and Ivanhoe in western NSW.

For over ten years Lyndall studied under tutor Lance McNeill as a member of the art group The Painters of the Plains. Working with pastels, watercolours, oil and pencil Lyndall's life on the land is strongly represented in her artworks, livestock being one of her favourite subjects.

Throughout this time Lyndall regularly exhibited at Painters of the Plains group exhibitions as well as winning awards for her work in Balranald, Condobolin and Adelaide.

What do you enjoy about living on a cattle station in the Central Darling?

I've been a country girl all my life.  I like the isolation and I just enjoy country life really.  I just like it quiet and peaceful and you can come and go as you please and I think (mainly) that you're your own boss. You can do things at your own time, at your own leisure and you haven't got people wanting- knocking on your door and trying to sell you something - which people get in towns.

I like the countryside and animals and birds and all that that goes with it. The seasons have a lot to do with it.  To see your animals nice and fat and shiny and the country in good heart and not blowing a dust storm or something like that.  But we have some very bad memories of it too, of the drought and the dust and wind.  

What effect does where you live have on your practice?

I mainly paint landscapes or landscapes with animals.  I also paint still life, but I prefer the landscapes - it's what we live with, that's what I know. It's a part of me, the animals are a part of me.

I like to paint something that describes the moods - the hostility and the unpredictability as well as the tranquillity. I like to put the memories into works on canvas.

You're influenced by the seasons. I found that during the drought that's what I painted.  Dust storms and dry land and skeletons and the things that I saw.

How were the Painters of the Plains influenced by the fact that most of its members lived on stations?

Occasionally we'd go out to each other's properties and paint something on that property and we'd share ideas like that. There was an appreciation because everyone's property was different.  Our property is all open plains and scrub land then we'd go to Mount Manara and they've got hills and rocks and at someone else's place and there were old sheds and really paintable things like old wagons The group had a real community spirit.

Edited from an interview with Sinead Ambrose, May 2011.