Encourage your inner art critic this winter and explore the creative community that resides between Trentham and Daylesford.

This magnificent collective of artists is recognised internationally, but instead of being surrounded by high-rise buildings and cityscape structures they are nestled quietly within the picturesque landscape of central Victoria from which they draw daily inspiration.

From Royal Family commissions to parties filled with the sounds of Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen, these locally based artists know a thing or two about the adventurous art world. Pack a picnic and take a day to discover the artistic plains of the Daylesford region through the eyes of these five contemporary artists and their idiosyncratic studio spaces.

Dianne Longley grew up on a sheep farm in Central West NSW, which is where her sense of adventure and inquisitive love of nature began. Her curiosity continued throughout university in the late seventies, where she enjoyed classes in techniques and processes, morning coffee discussions about art, politics and literature and a weekend party or two with Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen playing in the background live!

Dianne opened Agave Print Studio in Trentham in 2014, offering printmaking facilities for artists as well as accommodation for residencies. It’s not just the fabulous studio space that will make you forget the city, the sweet bird calls in the magic garden and the curious kangaroos in sight of the studio will make you want to stay on and create your own work of art.

Greg Mallyon Art 2 uai
Greg Mallyon. Photo Chris Turner

Freshly back from his first Sydney solo exhibition, Phillip Edwards has always been inspired by nature. While a watercolour specialist now, Edwards has made conceptual art and sculptures and now finds creative energy in landscape. Obsessed with natural beauty, his love affair began with snow-capped Mt Buffalo with scattered granite outcrops and button grass bogs. His new paintings document the fogs of the ‘golden hour’, sunrise in the Wombat State Forest.

Drawn to Bullarto almost four years ago, Edwards lives the true tree change dream, complete with wombats in his backyard. He is planning a trip to the Western Arthurs in Tasmania, where he intends to create mountains of bodies of work!

After being commissioned by the Danish Royal Family, Andrew O’Brien rose to international fame to create an artwork for their last Royal Tour in 2013. The commission generated huge interest across the globe, and Andrew’s work went on to grace the covers of magazines and the walls of sets in television shows.

Large in scale, Andrew’s paintings are often over three metres tall and wide, with his renowned rich colour palettes deriving inspiration from the Australian landscape. This scale and colour embedded a desire to relocate to the creative community of Musk, where he is working on the inaugural Arts Regioniale, a ten-day festival of the visual arts in the region with exhibitions, talks and installations running in 2022.

Making art has been a significant part of Kim Barter’s life for a long time. Kim communicates with the world through her work, allowing her questioning mind to be nurtured and challenged.

Her paintings, drawings and prints are striking with layers of defaced surfaces and heavy paints. The raw energy and spontaneity of people and landscape jump at the viewer with a childlike joy wrapped in glorious amounts of detail.

Kim’s farm backs onto the Wombat Forest, where she can observe the change of seasons through the birds, animals, insects, flora and funghi behaviour. The texture of the nearby landscape is reflected in her works which can be seen hanging on the walls of the most luxurious establishments in Central Victoria.

Greg Mallyon has lived and breathed art since he was a child. Following a career as an arts educator and gallery director, Greg settled in Daylesford to set up a studio and focus on his unique paintings. Inspired by the earth and environment viewed and created from an aerial perspective, his works reflect the endless cycle of destruction and renewal of our planet. These breathtaking works are instantly recognisable with Greg’s process of adding and subtracting mediums such as scaping, sanding, gouging and even blowtorching coupled with layers of varnishes, paint and collage.

Greg’s art has taken him all over the world, where culture and landscape have shaped his works, but it’s here in Daylesford, after decades living in cities, where the artist finds himself with a balance of calm being surrounded by the natural beauty of the region.

Greg is currently working on a prominent mural in Melbourne, an exterior of an apartment building in Hawthorn and a series of digital prints that has kept the artist very busy during 2020.

About the author

Ali Webb House of Webb
Ali Webb, House of Webb
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Kyneton-based Ali Webb adventures the state as a tiny tourist, exploring the littlest to the largest corners of our sweet slice of Victorian heaven.

A writer, a publicist, an artist manager and a downright good human being, Ali’s a curious cat, always on the hunt for a tale to share, especially if it involves digging for treasure in a local secondhand haven, scouring the seasonal delights of our favourite kitchens or simply finding a golden spot to pitch her tent after a day of bushwalking. Follow her tiny tourist tracks across the state at @houseofwebb.

Chris Turner
Photography by Chris Turner
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Living and working in the Daylesford Hepburn region for five years now, this place and its people are special. It’s residents are truely the essence of what separates this region from others. The creators, the artists, chefs, furniture makers, entrepreneurs and the beautiful surrounds have inspired me to create some of my best photography work.