SOUTH FREMANTLE artist Mark Welsh ducked for cover when a flock of rosellas descended on his verandah in Donnelly River Village.
“They stole my pistachios and I had to go inside.”
The kangaroos were just as inquisitive and he was eye-balled by an emu.
But that didn’t stop him creating stunning works for the exhibition The Donnelly River Verandah Residencies, which features work from the six artists-in-residence.
Now a south-west tourist site, Donnelly River Village is an historic mill town with 35 workers cottages, a butcher’s, a general store and the original timber, steam-powered mill.
All the artists share a love of nature and came up with different interpretations of the gorgeous view from their verandah.
“I was taken by the old mill that is slowly falling down back into the ground,” Welsh says.
He morphed five paintings of the decaying mill, with birds wheeling overhead, into a polyptych.
“It’s nature taking back the man-made; overwriting colonial histories.”
There’s a series of paintings of native birds that represent the guardians of the forest and the resilience of nature, Welsh says.
“The birds were always there, before the mill, while the mill was operational, after the mill shut down, and today and into the future.
“The wildlife at Donnelly is bold and brash. Now tame, it’s their place and they are happy to let you know this.”
The other artists in the exhibition are Linda Fardo, James Giddy, Kirsty Sadler, Jeana Castelli, and Anastasija Komarnyckyj.
The 2019 Donnelly Verandah Residencies is on at Earlywork Gallery in South Fremantle, November 29-December 8.