Generous spirit rounds up sales for Bower Birds raffle

Two women hold a painting that features a cattleman on horseback.

A striking painting of a high country cattleman at work has “herded” thousands of dollars in donations to Bairnsdale Regional Health Service thanks to its much loved Bower Birds fundraising auxiliary.

The raffle, drawn recently, came about through two separate acts of generosity.

The painting, by internationally-known artist Jan Long, is called High Country Rider, and depicts a cattleman herding stock on horseback near Gelantipy. The water colour on cotton work, which also includes graphite elements, won first prized in the mixed media category at the Warragul Art Show in 2005.

It was won by Briohny Cotter, with second prize – a fuel voucher – won by Nicole Noble.

Jan said the painting was the result of one of many trips she took to Gelantipy with the area’s horsemen, and required more than 150 hours of intricate work to complete.

“In the traditional technique with cotton, you don’t apply white paint. You use the white background as the white coming through, so any speck of light colour or white you have to leave it, so I worked with a magnifying glass to get all the hairs on the horse to get it right,” she said.

Jan said the painting was sold to a private collector, but was returned to her. “Several years ago the lady was moving into a small apartment for the aged. Her daughter contacted me and donated the painting back to me. Then, I decided to donate the painting to the Bower Birds so that they could hold a raffle,” she said.

“I support our local hospital and the Bower Birds have done a lot of work for the hospital over the years.”

Jan Long with members of the Bower Birds.

Bower Birds president Marg Porter said her group was delighted to have received Jan’s painting for the raffle, which she said raised $3,100 for BRHS. “It was great. Jan is very well-known internationally, and we sold a lot of tickets,” she said.

At this stage, it’s yet to be decided what the Bower Birds will fund with their $3,100 donation. “We have got to get a wish list from the hospital, and then we’ll work through it,” Marg said.

BRHS Chief Executive Officer Vicki Farthing said she was pleased to be part of the raffle draw and grateful to the Bower Birds for their ongoing support for BRHS.

“Our team is here to support the East Gippsland community. It’s gratifying to see how our many volunteers, including the Bower Birds, support us to work for the community,” she said. “We are thankful to the Bower Birds for funds raised in this raffle.”

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