Western Australia could swallow the entire United Kingdom, Texas and Japan together within its borders - with none of them touching and enormous spaces surrounding them. Driving into the bush from Perth can give the feeling of setting sail and heading off into a sea with no land visible - but with everything in reverse because the sea is a red land going in every direction, empty and vast. The red earth and flora that carpet the immense space are unique and strange from the perspective of someone from the northern hemisphere - albeit an Englishman who has lived in the Far East for twenty years. Towering trees follow the roads and water-holes with lizard-like skin that folds around the limbs and with gorgeous pods and leaves and bark lying beneath to be collected. We stopped at places that felt as though time had forgotten them; sad, hollow, shadow-filled places that exuded perhaps the sense of early human encounters with the first spirits. At other times the light was everywhere. Harsh, blinding and total.
When we finally arrived back at the Indian Ocean after many days in a camper van, bronzed and healthy and excited, it seemed as though we were returning to dry land. The shining blue was a beautiful site intensified by leaving the empty and parched interior. But sitting here in Bangkok at the start of the monsoon season, I can close my eyes and return to the dry rolling waves of the outback with its timeless antiquity and raw natural expressiveness, and feel a great calm. The feelings and memories found in such places can be wonderfully powerful in the creation of art, as they come from the encounter within.