Fine Art is in my heart
Sam is available for commissioned mural work for public schools and the community:
T: +61 04 31 258 547
The art of Samantha Wortelhock – whether fine-art paintings or large public murals – is naïve, untutored, purely instinctive. She is an artist because she is a dreamer and storyteller.
As a child she was enchanted by her dream life. She wrote her lucid impressions on scraps of paper and kept them close. They later rewarded her with visions for her paintings, and she quickly came to trust in them.
In January, 1988, the year of bicentenary, Sam left the UK to travel to Australia, lured by stories of a primordial land and an ancient culture, and encouraged by a partner who had spent an idyllic childhood in Sydney.
She found the city seemingly devoid of Aboriginality, yet the coastal landscape captivated her eager spirit and spoke of a hidden secret.
In Woollahra she met her future husband, artist Damien Naughton, whose spirit and love of nature educated and coloured her world. Living among the successful artists of the Naughton Studio of Naïve Art gave her the idea that she could paint her dreams.
And so Sam started to paint – each night “requesting” a dream that would lead to a painting. On the night of her 22nd birthday, she dreamt her first painting, Balance. It was to become the blueprint for a collection of art that has captivated, educated and inspired many disparate groups of people to look more closely into Aboriginality and the value of preserving our natural world - intricate chronicles full of humour, insight and respect.
Sam’s art took her quickly to the pinnacle of commercial success, including fetching record prices in regional Australia. She was the inaugural Artist in Residence at the Mulgara Gallery at Uluru, an exhibition that helped launch her career. She established and owned Heaven and Earth Gallery in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building and Field of Dreams in Queen Street Woollahra.
She has also been invited to contribute paintings to books that help interpret complex Aboriginal concepts such as the stellar songlines and customary law – the work of Wardaman Elder Bill Yidumduma Harney and Dr Hugh Cairns (Dark Sparklers and Four Circles).
Sam has been invited to take her art into remote communities by Tania Major, a Kokoberra woman from Cape York and Young Australian of the Year 2004, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Aurukun), Queensland Health (Kowanyama) and the David Wirrpanda Foundation (Western Australia).
With their support, Sam has responded to local peoples’ wishes to design and present art programs that empower members of the community to explore their ancient creativity – building a unique cultural foundation for a fulfilling and healthy life.
For two decades, Sam has worked with the NSW Education Department, travelling to schools to help ignite the imaginations of students and open them to the wonders of their culture and environment.
In between these commissions, Sam is kept busy painting fine art murals in schools, guided by the vision of the staff, pupils and the natural setting. Within days, blank walls are brought to life with colourful depictions of local life and ecology, enriching learning and turning cheerless spaces into vibrant scenery.
Sam’s desire to connect with Australia and its First People began to take shape with the dream of her first painting, Balance. That painting was the start of a long and meaningful career contributing to the cultural health of the country. It is a dream that continues to come true.