“Many people ask how we came up with our colour scheme. Brian’s (Willaton) first truck was an ex-Golden Fleece delivery truck, which was blue and yellow, so to save the cost of repainting the entire truck, he just painted over the yellow with white, giving us the blue and white livery we are well-known for today!”
Explained Jared McTaggart – Willaton Transport Group’s Business Manager – as he informed us of the origins of this trucking company’s colour combination. Unwittingly, the many proud transport companies streaming up and down our highways have significantly defined the visual language and experience of our roadways. The typical truck vernacular exhibits a clean colour combination and a bold family name, applied to each company vehicle with ruthless consistency. They are rolling billboards, the visual repetition creating a sense of familiarity, so much so that when you’re passed by an Andersons Removals rig 200 kilometres west of Roma in Queensland, wistful thoughts of home seep into your head.
The four semi-trailers so deftly detailed here by East Gippsland-based watercolour artist, Amy Joseph, are representative of the many proud Gippsland transport companies that are largely responsible for the visually defining movement throughout our region.
Willaton Transport Group
Amy – who paints by the charming nom de plume Sweet Afton – created the accompanying graceful works as well as kindly providing the background on unusual upbringing and art practice:
“Neither my childhood nor my artistic background was conventional. I’m the second eldest of seven children and was homeschooled on our 70-acre hobby farm in Gormandale until Year Ten. We grew up surrounded by pine plantations and dairy farms. I never had ‘art classes’, but my Mum – who vows she isn’t creative! – made sure we had a thorough art education from primary school onwards. We dabbled with graphite, coloured pencils, watercolours and ink drawings. She provided us with ‘sketch notebooks’ that we took outside to find something to draw in graphite. I’d spend way past my allotted drawing time searching for the perfect subjects around the farm or in the bush.
Nature has always been my greatest source of inspiration. My favourite subjects were our dogs, horses, bunnies, wildflowers, native birds and the occasional echidna. One of my earliest influences was Beatrix Potter; I adored her art, and her even more so. I even wished I could go back in time to tell her as much. My Dad is a bit of a whiz with the pencil – sketching me horse heads in five minutes.
I’m not sure when I first began using watercolours, but I remember when I took it more seriously. In my early teens, my brother and I worked through a landscape watercolour book and watched watercolour videos from the library on the VHS. One day I caught him painting a portrait of his favourite cow. I still remember walking into his room and there he was, putting the finishing touches on a black Angus heifer. I sat on his bed and watched him. Asked him a few questions. Then I decided to give it a go too. Come to think of it, I owe him one.
I painted quite a few pet portraits for friends and family, but as time progressed, my priorities changed and art in this form became neglected for a few years.
Twelve months ago my husband’s work moved us to the beautiful Gippsland Lakes and once again the beauty of nature inspired me. Now I paint full-time from home while juggling mum life. I always ask my two-year-old son for his opinion on what I’ve painted. A two-year-old never lies. If I’ve painted a dog and he says cat, then I know I’ve got some work to do! He’s passionate about all thing vehicular, so imagine his delight when I was painting trucks for three days! Then imagine my delight when he called them such. Machinery is very different to the soft colours and forgiving lines I’m used to replicating, but I’ve always grown the most when stretched by the various requests I would’ve never have been inclined to attempt myself. And I’m always surprised when it comes together.
Bedggood’s Transport Pty Ltd
I love watercolours and have never painted with anything else. I’m a perfectionist at heart and watercolours are so honest – you can’t hide anything. I’ve found that as you persevere, you learn to let go and let it be. My passion is to share what I’ve learnt with others, to encourage them to be open-minded and have a little faith when it comes to watercolours. I run beginners workshops at various locations in Gippsland; attend the Bairnsdale Makers Market and events by The Pop Up Collection. You can find my work online at my Etsy shop ‘Sweet Afton’ (a nod to my Scottish heritage) or email me for commissions. My work can be found at the East Gippsland Art Gallery, Foundry, The Meeniyan Store and The Yinnar General Store.
Dyers Gippsland Transport