Verandah Resident

“Verandah Resident” coloured pencils 16.5 x 16.5 cm. July 2022

I recently returned from a trip to Donnelly River; a 1950s heritage-listed timber mill town 300 km south of Perth. The mill closed in 1978 and today the village is a peaceful holiday haven – a place where this world still feels good. I was invited to be one of six artists to stay there and then take part in an art exhibition – The 2022 Donnelly Verandah Residencies. I took Matthew along and for several days we soaked up the wintry atmosphere, walked, observed and photographed.

My drawing “Verandah Resident” is of a Red-Winged Fairy Wren who we met on the verandah of the general store.

I will be doing more Donnelly-inspired drawings for the exhibition which will be held at Earlywork in South Fremantle from 19-28 August. Website:

Donnelly is HEAVEN. Here are some of the photographs I took…

Cottages and sheds with kangaroo
Scarlet Robin
Western Spinebill eyeing a bee
The road in showing the general store (and kangaroo)
Twenty Eight Parrot with Matthew
Derelict cottage, winter trees and spring flowers
Dancing emus
Western Whistler
Locals awaiting a phone call
Female Western Rosella (front) with Twenty Eight Parrot (rear)
Male Western Rosella in the rosemary bush
Julie and Kangaroo (photo by Matthew)

Matthew and I were so enthralled by Donnelly River that we will return in spring. If you love birds, animals, trees and peace, this is UTOPIA. Here is the accommodation website – so you can book your own trip

14 thoughts on “Verandah Resident

  1. Alan Casey

    Hi Julie, thank you for the email/newsletter. I always look forward to these. This place looks and sounds amazing. A place that we could all go to and just lose ourselfs. I will be looking forward to further coloured pencil art from your amazing trip.

    Have fun and thankyou
    Alan in the UK xxx

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Alan, thanks for your message and I’m very happy that you enjoy my posts. You are spot on in saying this forestry village is a place to lose ourselves – absolutely. There is no internet or television there, nor newspapers delivered. That’s why I wrote that the world still feels good there. Sometimes we need, more than anything, to disconnect from the madness and reconnect with nature.

  2. Joy Rhodes

    Ah Julie – you’ve done it again! Thank you for your wonderful post and photographs – utterly delightful. Donnelly looks exactly as you say and very well worth a visit. And of course as always, your artwork is sublime – I look forward to your exhibition.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Joy, I hope you’ll visit the Donnelly exhibition in August at Earlywork. It will be so interesting to see what each of the six artists comes up with. I hope to have up to six pieces (fingers crossed). I will send out specific information nearer to the opening date.

  3. xanderest

    What a dear little bird ,Julie and your exquisite drawing make him look cold even .

    I’ll bet you couldn’t wait to light a fire at night . You’ve certainly whetted my appetite to go back there again .

    Judy .

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Judy, the fairy wren might indeed have been cold. I was wearing my big London coat at the time. I insisted on eating afternoon tea (devonshire tea) ON the verandah as opposed to inside in front of a roaring fire just in case birds appeared. And sure enough, they did.
      The fire each night was delightful.

  4. anna warren portfolio

    What a wonderful collection of birds! This looks like the kind of place where you can happily lose touch with the ‘real’ world for a while and absorb the natural world at its purest level. The drawing is delightful, such a great angle, it gives a real sense of you just meeting each other unexpectedly but in a friendly manner. Where I am now (Bourke at the furthest western edge of NSW) is a bit the same, and from tomorrow we will really be in the wilds when we cross the border into Queensland. It is a chance to savour the essence of the uninterrupted natural world. (Hence I won’t be writing you a proper letter for a little while, but will when I can!) I’m so pleased you enjoyed your trip!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I totally get why you go off on your inland explorations now. You can forget about all the problems of the world as you focus on your natural surroundings. It’s SO HEALTHY for mind and body! You did well to leave behind sodden Sydney. I hope every day is miraculous, Anna.

  5. Nick Shiroma

    Wow. It’s like all the glorious energy is illuminating from everything there to soak in and let you create for all to enjoy!

  6. Robyn Varpins

    Your photos are a great advertisement for the cottages. And your little friend portrait is a delight.


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