Artist in the artist through the artist.

Russell McKane: how time distilled me into the artist I am.

This blog will bring you into my world. From the pristine wilds of Tasmania to the messy life of an artist who has been passionate about doing art for nearly half a century.

Silver Wattles - Liffey Falls Reserve Camping ground. Oil on Linen 2021

A brief Bio – the rest will come through the stories I have lived and tell in this blog.


I started painting the year Apollo 13 nearly became lost in space. Oil paints with a kitchen knife. My subjects landscapes from calendars and photos in books about the Australian landscape.

I dared to dream – could I possible go to these places and paint on site. I knew nothing about art. At this stage I was totally self taught. We didn’t even have art at school in the small country town, Coolamon Central School.


I was consumed in my learning. Not the formal stuff, I was bored at school – In the next five years we had moved to the City – finally I could do art at school. Every day after school I painted and painted and painted. During this time I started Drama classes and was successful on local stages. I learnt photography and made a darkroom in our family bathroom. I had joined an art society. Experienced my first live model – read nude. While still painting my Photographic art major work was selected for HSC State exhibition.

I enrolled at Art College – Riverina College of Advanced Education. In the first year I made my mark – well many marks in the form of Jelly stains on the new Gallery wall and ceiling. ( a blog will come) My first solo exhibition opened and closed on the one night when 100 edible Jellies became one big jelly fight. Inspired by my legend art teacher Bruce Jarvis I went to College with the goal of becoming an art teacher.

I developed a new passion. It became clear that a Landscape painter was not going to succeed in a thoroughly modern art setting – so I developed my photography and gained a new passion for silversmithing – It became my major. In Wagga Wagga I reconnected with my Drama tutor and he poured his shakespearian soul into me over these 4 years.


There were now 4 strings to the cello of my creative life. Painting, Photography, Silversmithing and Drama / Performance Poetry. Each together play and interweave the music that has been my filled full life as I lived it. Because of my diverse interests and giftings I have often been called the Renaissance Man by my close friends.

The next stage of my life one cannot separate my life as an artist and that as a teacher. ( I promise only one blog on the teacher bit….) But being a teacher put me back into the desert of far western NSW. It was in the desert I found my all consuming Art and painting focus. The ever present and humble tree. Not as a prop in the landscape but the very subject, the personhood of The Australian Landscape. So began the beginnings of my painting on site, plein air.

Some forty years later time has distilled the important things in my life that are the focus of this blog and my website. Join me on this journey and enjoy the richness of the places and environments I am painting in.