This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

The Nomadic Artist Who Is Always Painting On The Road

Creative People

Since 2018, artist Emily Imeson has been travelling around Australia living and painting out of a four wheel drive. Engagement with nature is so central to her practice, she seeks new environments to immerse herself in as often as she can. Paradoxically, change is her only constant.

While traversing the vast landscape, Emily’s focus has been narrowed to a few simple necessities: water, food, shade, weather, nature, and painting. This talented artist is living the  lifestyle most of us can only dream of!

27th January, 2021

Take Flight, On Desert Rain. Photo – Penny Clay.

Range Study 1. Photo – Penny Clay.

Cloudscape. Photo – Penny Clay.

Left: Sturt Desert Dance. Photo – Penny Clay. Right: Emily herself. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Left: River Red, Study – Dusk. Photo – Jacqui Turk. Right: Range Study 3. Photo – Penny Clay.

Left: Dusk Range. Photo – Jacqui Turk. Right: Painting at Finke Gorge, land traditionally owned by the Western Arrernte people. Photo – Kieran Rangger.

Amber Rendezvous (triptych). Photo – Penny Clay.

Left: Sweet Devil. Photo – Jacqui Turk. Right: Major Major. Photo – Penny Clay.

Emily painting in Tyweltherreme (Ruby Gap), land belonging to the Western Arrernte people. Photo – Kieran Rangger.

Sasha Gattermayr
Wednesday 27th January 2021

‘I paint everyday and am constantly thinking and seeing the world around me as brush marks, colours and shapes.’ – Emily Imeson

Though her permanent home is a four wheel drive on a dirt track, artist Emily Imeson has roots in northern NSW. Originally from Orange, Emily’s immersion in nature began at an early age.

‘My fondest memories are riding through the trees on horseback, where we would spend hours watching birds or goannas,’ she remembers. ‘Growing up in regional areas meant I spent a lot of time outside, it became a place of wonder, imagination, unknown, and solace.’ After studying art at university, completing internships and winning scholarships, she took to the road in 2018 – travelling around the country with her partner in pursuit of new natural experiences.

As a result of embedding herself in different environments, Emily’s landscapes are produced from a place of intense affinity with nature (a state called ‘biophilia’). Deep ochres bleed into burnt reds and splashes of purple, while bursts of greenery or animal life animate the canvas with a living presence. Her car, soaring birds or swelling rainclouds create dynamism in every scene. ‘I am trying to find a balance between a visual landscape and the internal response generated by nature,’ she explains.

Emily’s distinctive style traverses many colours and weather systems, taking extra care to illustrate the continuous relationship between humans and nature. Painting is the lens through which she sees the world, and the mode through which she can engage most authentically with herself as part of an ecosystem.

‘I paint every day and am constantly thinking and seeing the world around me as brush marks, colours and shapes,’ she says. ‘I feel the land is a vast part of me.’

Her nomadic lifestyle has allowed her to embark on a painting-led inquiry of Australia. Her days are filled with exploring, reading, fishing, cooking, swimming, walking, and – of course – painting. When heavy rain falls, she completes applications, artist statements and general admin while she can’t paint.

Being on the road has also encouraged Emily to devise new ways of working. She began painting on the ground, or hanging a roll of canvas off the roof-racks and using the side of the car as an easel. She’s even used clumps of trees to fashion a natural gallery! ‘This way I was able to see how the works communicated with each other, and search for ways to resolve unfinished works’ the artist explains.

Despite her transient lifestyle, a few recent conditions have dictated a more sedentary lifestyle for Emily. As a recipient of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2020 she completed a residency in Shark Island Institute in Kangaroo Valley last year (‘a beautiful property dedicated to encouraging creativity, and deepen social and environmental consciousness’). The 2020 travel restrictions also prevented Emily from straying too far from home, with she and her partner locking down on the east coast of NSW. Emily doesn’t see this as a disruption, though. It’s all part of the ebb and flow of life and place.

‘Isolation is not a factor for my partner and I,’ says Emily. ‘Whether we are camping in the Great Sandy Desert or in lockdown on the east coast, we are content.’

‘Ancient River, River Red’ by Emily Imeson opens at Saint Cloche Gallery on January 27th until February 7th. See more of the exhibition here.

This Week

News

The Melbourne Label Making Stylish Kids' Wetsuits That Grow On Trees

Fants make kids’ wetsuits from natural rubber that look good and do good.
Sponsored

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Creative People

Meet The Small Melbourne Brand Reinventing The Humble Gumboot

From a humble farm in South Gippsland, Merry People has grown from a grassroots start-up, to a successful brand sold across the globe!
Christina Karras
  8 hours ago

Architecture

A Contemporary Brunswick Addition That Contorts Out Of Sight

A major Brunswick home extension by Lisa Breeze Architect takes its cues from the surrounding neighbourhood and its Edwardian facade.

Sustainable Homes

‘Future Ready’: Inside One Of Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Developments

Mirvac are hoping to encourage sustainable living with their innovative 'future ready' display home in Melbourne's inner west.
Christina Karras
  24 hours ago

Stays

Escape To This Magical Tiny Home In The Gold Coast Hinterlands

Step inside an adorable, off-grid getaway on a farm, with 'no distractions', limited phone reception and a wood-fired hot tub.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Homes

A Tiny Slice Of Japan Inside A Pink Darlinghurst Terrace

Ceramicist Laura Butler shares her 1890s Darlinghurst pink terrace, renovated by Trias in accordance with Japanese design principles.

Architecture

An Architect + Interior Designer’s Coastal Home, Grounded In Nature

This Sydney family home is like a private treehouse by the beach, with views at every turn, and unexpected interiors.
Christina Karras

Interiors

The Central Coast Home Of The Block Alumni Kyal + Kara

The Australian coastal meets Mediterranean family home of former The Block stars Kyal and Kara Demmrich, on the NSW Central Coast.
Amelia Barnes
  Less than an hour ago

Interiors

How To Turn Home Inspiration Into Reality, With Style Sourcebook

This free web-based mood board tool is the perfect place to refine your interior design vision. We show you how it's done!

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!

News

New Melbourne Brand Saule Have Created The Dreamiest Robes, Just In Time For Summer

Local creative Sally Tabart has designed the ultimate robe for the home, beach and beyond – and it’s all made here in Melbourne!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Art

Baden Croft's Landscape Paintings Quiver With Human Energy

The young Mornington Peninsula artist capturing the Australian ecosystem in exquisite detail, stillness and gore.
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

Inside Meg Walter’s Lyrical Landscapes

We visit the artist's rainforest-surrounded studio, ahead of her new solo exhibition at Michael Reid in Sydney.
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

Dreamy Landscape Paintings By Ileigh Hellier

A closer look at the work of the Newcastle-based emerging artist Ileigh Hellier - one to collect, while you still can, art lovers!
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

News

New Melbourne Brand Saule Have Created The Dreamiest Robes, Just In Time For Summer

Local creative Sally Tabart has designed the ultimate robe for the home, beach and beyond – and it’s all made here in Melbourne!
Christina Karras

Interiors

The Central Coast Home Of The Block Alumni Kyal + Kara

The Australian coastal meets Mediterranean family home of former The Block stars Kyal and Kara Demmrich, on the NSW Central Coast.
Amelia Barnes
  Less than an hour ago

News

The Melbourne Label Making Stylish Kids' Wetsuits That Grow On Trees

Fants make kids’ wetsuits from natural rubber that look good and do good.
Sponsored

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.

Creative People

Meet The Small Melbourne Brand Reinventing The Humble Gumboot

From a humble farm in South Gippsland, Merry People has grown from a grassroots start-up, to a successful brand sold across the globe!
Christina Karras
  8 hours ago

Architecture

An Architect + Interior Designer’s Coastal Home, Grounded In Nature

This Sydney family home is like a private treehouse by the beach, with views at every turn, and unexpected interiors.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Contemporary Brunswick Addition That Contorts Out Of Sight

A major Brunswick home extension by Lisa Breeze Architect takes its cues from the surrounding neighbourhood and its Edwardian facade.

Stays

Escape To This Magical Tiny Home In The Gold Coast Hinterlands

Step inside an adorable, off-grid getaway on a farm, with 'no distractions', limited phone reception and a wood-fired hot tub.
Christina Karras

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Interiors

How To Turn Home Inspiration Into Reality, With Style Sourcebook

This free web-based mood board tool is the perfect place to refine your interior design vision. We show you how it's done!

Homes

A Tiny Slice Of Japan Inside A Pink Darlinghurst Terrace

Ceramicist Laura Butler shares her 1890s Darlinghurst pink terrace, renovated by Trias in accordance with Japanese design principles.

Sustainable Homes

‘Future Ready’: Inside One Of Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Developments

Mirvac are hoping to encourage sustainable living with their innovative 'future ready' display home in Melbourne's inner west.
Christina Karras
  24 hours ago

Similar Stories

Art

Baden Croft's Landscape Paintings Quiver With Human Energy

The Mornington Peninsula artist capturing the Australian ecosystem in exquisite detail, stillness and gore.
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

Inside Meg Walter’s Lyrical Landscapes

We visit the artist's rainforest-surrounded studio, ahead of her new solo exhibition at Michael Reid in Sydney.
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

Dreamy Landscape Paintings By Ileigh Hellier

A closer look at the work of the Newcastle-based emerging artist Ileigh Hellier - one to collect, while you still can, art lovers!
Sasha Gattermayr

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net