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Creative Retreat

Anne Miller. South Gippsland, Victoria

Moving towards a long-held dream of living on the land and making
art in her own studio, Anne Miller found a place of bucolic beauty in
the rich green and golden landscapes of South Gippsland. Leaving city
life and a demanding role as an advertising creative, Anne set about
forging an artist’s path while deepening her connection with horses
and the natural environment.

Moving towards a long-held dream of living on the land and making art in her own studio, Anne Miller found a place of bucolic beauty in the rich green and golden landscapes of South Gippsland. Leaving city life and a demanding role as an advertising creative, Anne set about forging an artist’s path while deepening her connection with horses and the natural environment.

What’s life like for you in South Gippsland?
It’s a wonderful blend of developing my art practice and life with my horses. Drawing and being at one with them is an important and peaceful place for me to be. The horses get me out into the countryside, closer to nature, into places where cars can’t go. You have a different perspective on horseback. I always take a pencil and sketchbook so I can stop and capture what I think and see.

What’s life like for you in South Gippsland?
It’s a wonderful blend of developing my art practice and life with my horses. Drawing and being at one with them is an important and peaceful place for me to be. The horses get me out into the countryside, closer to nature, into places where cars can’t go. You have a different perspective on horseback. I always take a pencil and sketchbook so I can stop and capture what I think and see.

How has being here changed you as an artist?
I’ve found that I’ve really had to dig deep to learn about
myself and reflect on what I want to explore, and what
engages me to respond. Just being in the country
allows you more space and solitude to discover what’s
creatively inspiring. The clouds, the trees, the wind,
the way the animals move. There’s a lot of subtleties
to observe. It’s also great having my own studio with
a view.

What’s been engaging you lately?
I’ve been visiting the mangroves on the beach,
captivated by these beautiful little trees anchored in
the mudflats. It’s a silty inlet with big tidal shifts, so at
high tide they’re up to their chins in water. Other times
I can walk out for half-a-kilometre across the beach and
hear the mangroves breathing through their suckers.
I’ve been exploring this area – through big pieces and
small – getting to know it all quite intimately.

Tell us about your escape from urban life?
My career as an Art Director kept me in Melbourne, but
this property was the exit plan. It actually all started
with the horses, which I’d always wanted. My husband
and I loved them but had never owned one. The plan
was to get married, find some land, and bring the
dream to reality. We’d come here every weekend for
about eight years, until I needed to put down roots and
feel more grounded.

How has being here changed you as an artist?
I’ve found that I’ve really had to dig deep to learn about myself and reflect on what I want to explore, and what engages me to respond. Just being in the country allows you more space and solitude to discover what’s creatively inspiring. The clouds, the trees, the wind, the way the animals move. There’s a lot of subtleties to observe. It’s also great having my own studio with a view.

What’s been engaging you lately?
I’ve been visiting the mangroves on the beach, captivated by these beautiful little trees anchored in the mudflats. It’s a silty inlet with big tidal shifts, so at high tide they’re up to their chins in water. Other times I can walk out for half a-kilometre across the beach and hear the mangroves breathing through their suckers. I’ve been exploring this area – through big pieces and small – getting to know it all quite intimately.

Tell us about your escape from urban life?
My career as an Art Director kept me in Melbourne, but this property was the exit plan. It actually all started with the horses, which I’d always wanted. My husband and I loved them but had never owned one. The plan was to get married, find some land, and bring the dream to reality. We’d come here every weekend for about eight years, until I needed to put down roots and feel more grounded.

Do you miss the old haunts and routines?
The distractions of city life – the allure and seduction
of everything available – fell away through being in the
country. It was so refreshing and freeing to not have
access to those things and not miss them. I’m so happy
here, there’s a sense of peace and a nice amount of
slowness.

When did you first want a life in the country?
There’s a photo of me at three, sitting on my grandpa’s
lap, on a beautiful old Ferguson tractor. Later, when my
dad would go on trips, ferreting and rabbiting with friends,
I’d love going along with ‘the boys’. I knew then, gumboots
and pants were what I felt comfortable in. I was a real
tomboy and just wanted to be outdoors – not bake and
sew with my mum.

Do you miss the old haunts and routines?
The distractions of city life – the allure and seduction of everything available – fell away through being in the country. It was so refreshing and freeing to not have access to those things and not miss them. I’m so happy here, there’s a sense of peace and a nice amount of slowness.

When did you first want a life in the country?
There’s a photo of me at three, sitting on my grandpa’s lap, on a beautiful old Ferguson tractor. Later, when my dad would go on trips, ferreting and rabbiting with friends, I’d love going along with ‘the boys’. I knew then, gumboots and pants were what I felt comfortable in. I was a real tomboy and just wanted to be outdoors – not bake and sew with my mum.

SHOP KIDMAN BOOT

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February 9, 2024

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