Artworks by Helen Ansell
Made in Western Australia.
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(Rhodanth chlorocephala) A native Australian daisy belonging to the family Asteraceae. It is widely grown due to its attractive flowers and foliage, and because it’s hardy, adaptable and provides a good, fast ground cover. The flowers are long-lived and dry well. It grows naturally in the south of Western Australia extending into South Australia. It generally flowers from August to November in the wild but with sufficient water and warmth it will flower at other times.
Australian Pea-flowered plants are found in every state and territory of Australia, from coastal cliffs to alpine areas, from the tropics to the arid inland. They are also distributed widely throughout the world and many are popular plants in cultivation.The two featured in this painting include the ‘Flame Pea’ (Chorizema cordatum) a small scrambling shrub which is conspicuous with it’s loose racemes of orange-red or yellow pea flowers and the ‘Granny Bonnet’ (Isotropis cuneifolia)
Pink and Grey Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) is one of the most common and widespread cockatoos, and it can be found in open country in almost all parts of mainland Australia. Its distinctive pink and grey plumage and its bold and loud behaviour make it a familiar sight in the bush and increasingly in urban areas. The term galah is derived from gilaa, a word found in Yuwaalaraay (South East Australia) They form permanent pair bonds, although a bird will take a new partner if the other one dies.
(Leschenaultia Macrantha) A species of low growing plant, the unique and distictive “Wreath Flower”, amazingly, grows in bare gravel roadsides, quarries, cemeteries, etc., particularly around Mullewa, inland from Geraldton, Western Australia.The large yellow, pink, red flowers are arranged at the terminus of branches in a ring and when viewed from above, has a wreath-like form during its flowering period around August to November.
Quairading Banksia Banksia cuneata An endangered species of flowering plant in the Proteaceae family. This spectacular banksia species grows in the wheatbelt region near Perth. It is classified as endangered - there are only about 500 of these plants left in the wild at 11 different sites, with much of its habitat having been historically 93% cleared for agriculture. A shrub or small tree up to 5 m (16 ft) high, it has prickly foliage and pink and cream flowers.
Boab Tree (Adansonia gregorii) The Boab Tree is related to the Madagascan and African Adansonia species known as baobabs. As with other baobabs, it is easily recognised by the swollen base of its trunk, which forms a massive caudex, giving the tree a bottle-like appearance. The huge tree, found in the Western Australia Kimberley region, is used as food, medicine, shelter and art work. Boab ranges from 5 to 15 meters in height, usually between 9 and 12 metres, with a broad bottle-shaped trunk.
Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) The endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoo is one of just two species of white-tailed black cockatoo on Earth. The other is the Baudin’s black cockatoo, and they are both found only in the Southwest Australia Ecoregion. Their population has declined greatly in recent decades, mostly due to the loss and fragmentation of their preferred habitats, and they need the support of conservation programs to ensure their survival.
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) Gouldian Finches are Australia’s most spectacularly coloured grassfinches, and are perhaps the most spectacularly coloured of all Australian birds. They are small birds, with a bright green back, yellow belly and a purple breast. The facial colour is usually black, and is found in about 75% of the birds. Red-faced forms make up about 25% of the population, and rare, yellow-faced birds occur from time to time.
Pink Ice Protea These stunning plants, so often adorned with generous and impressive flowers are part the Proteaceae family, like Waratahs, Banksias, Hakeas and Grevilleas which are the Australian branch of the family. Named after the sea-god of classical mythology, Proteus, renowned for his ability to change his form at will. These striking plants bear long-lasting blooms that flower over a long period, usually from autumn to spring.
Wreath Flower (Leschenaultia Macrantha) A species of low growing plant, the unique and distictive “Wreath Flower”, amazingly, grows in bare gravel roadsides, quarries, cemeteries, etc., particularly around Mullewa, inland from Geraldton, Western Australia. Mullewa is renown for it’s carpets of everlastings, but of the many flowering specimens in the district, the wreath flower is the star attraction of the annual Mullewa Wildflower Show held every year. Flowering August - November.
Acorn Banksia (Banksia prionotes) A species of shrub or tree of the genus Banksia in the family Proteaceae. It is native to the southwest of Western Australia and can reach up to 10 m (30 ft) in height. It can be much smaller in more exposed areas or in the north of its range. This species has serrated, dull green leaves and large, bright flower spikes, initially white before opening to a bright orange. Its common name arises from the partly opened inflorescence, which is shaped like an acorn.
Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) The Laughing Kookaburra is the largest of the kingfisher family, famous for its chorus of laughter which echoes through the Australian bush.Unlike most of its relatives, kookaburras occupy the same territories year-round which they mark with their noisy calls.Each group knows the boundaries of each other’s territories by communicating before the spring breeding season to establish boundaries.The name is a loanword from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, onomatopoei call.
Eucalyptus torquata is an attractive small shade tree growing to 6–8m, with a single trunk and spread of some 5 m. Its rough greyish bark contrasts pleasantly with the blue-green pendulous foliage, but its main features are the unusually-shaped red buds and abundance of blossom. As the name implies, the profuse flowers are reddish-pink or coral coloured and hang decoratively on reddish stems.
These stunning plants, so often adorned with generous and impressive flowers are part the Proteaceae family, like Waratahs, Banksias, Hakeas and Grevilleas which are the Australian branch of the family. Named after the sea-god of classical mythology, Proteus, renowned for his ability to change his form at will. These striking plants bear long-lasting blooms that flower over a long period, usually from autumn to spring.
After moving home from Europe artist Helen Ansell found herself struck by the wild, striking shapes and colours of Western Australian wildflowers, unlike any others in the world. She returned to live in a remote Aboriginal Community in the desert 75km outside of Wiluna and says, "When most people think of “desert” they imagine nothing but barren sandy plains, however I found a lush beauty waiting to be discovered."
(Merops ornatus) A near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It is the only species of Meropidae found in Australia.Rainbow bee-eaters are brilliantly colored birds that grow to be 19–24 cm (max 28 cm) in length, including the elongated tail feathers. They migrate north during the winter into northern Australia, New Guinea, and some of the southern islands of Indonesia.
Grevillea is a diverse genus of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants in the protea family Proteaceae.It was named in honour of Charles Francis Greville. The species range from prostrate shrubs less than 50 cm (20 in) tall to trees 35 m (115 ft) tall. The brightly coloured, petal-less flowers consist of a calyx tube that splits into 4 lobes with long styles. They are good bird-attracting plants, honeyeaters in particular are common visitors.
(Brachychiton) A monoecious tree with separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The flowers have a bell-shaped perianth consisting of a single series of fused lobes which is regarded as a calyx despite being brightly coloured in most species. The female flowers have five separate carpels that can each form a woody fruit containing several seeds. The flower colour is often variable within species.
(Anigozanthos flavidus) One of the most recognisable Australian native plants and are endemic to the south-west of Western Australia. The tubular flowers are coated with dense hairs and open at the apex with six claw-like structures: from this paw formation the common name "Kangaroo Paw" is derived. Kangaroo Paw plants produce masses of flowers in late winter, spring and through to summer and come in a range of numerous colours.
(Petroica goodenovii) A small passerine bird native to Australia. Found in drier regions across much of the continent, it inhabits scrub and open woodland. Measuring 10.5–12.5 cm (4–5 in) in length, the robin has a small thin black bill, and dark brown eyes and legs. The male has a distinctive red cap and red breast, black upperparts, and a black tail with white tips. The underparts and shoulders are white. The female is an undistinguished grey-brown.
Western Australian wildflowers are renowned as being one of the most spectacular wildflower displays in the world. For six picturesque months, a whopping 12,000 plant species carpet the state with their vivid beauty - and endless varieties are still being discovered! And over 60% of these species are found nowhere else in the world.
Mulga (Acacia aneura) is a long-lived Acacia shrub, which is resistant to all but the severest drought. Mulga country occupies as much as 20% of the Australian continent, with their range extending from inland Western Australia, across the arid Australian interior, to western New South Wales and south-west Queensland. The distribution of mulga is related to climate, with its occurrence coinciding with areas receiving between 200 mm and 500 mm of rainfall per year.
A genus of around 170 species in the plant family Proteaceae that are easily recognised by their characteristic flower spikes and fruiting "cones" and heads. When it comes to size, banksias range from prostrate woody shrubs to trees up to 30 metres tall. They are generally found in a wide variety of landscapes; sclerophyll forest, (occasionally) rainforest, shrubland, and some more arid landscapes, though not in Australia's deserts.
Eucalypts, otherwise known as Gum Trees, are the Australian trees – as much a part of the landscape as far horizons and sweeping plains. There are more than 900 species, and their bark, leaves, flowers and fruit (gumnuts) come in endless combinations of size, form, texture and colour. Unlike many flowers, the gum blossom doesn’t consist of petals. The colourful bloom is provided by the stamens, which attract pollinators such as insects or nectar-feeding birds.
(Scaevola ramosissima) A small shrub or climber in the family Goodeniaceae. The habitat is often near the sea, on poor sandy soils frequented by fire. Growing in the eucalyptus forest or heathlands. It grows to 40 cm in height and produces attractive purple flowers between the months of August and March. It grows along the ground with some raised shoots.
(Caladenia longicauda) This group contains about 16 species, most of which are in the C. longicauda group. All of them have predominantly white flowers with no red tip to the labellum, most of which have relatively large flowers. The subspecies are generally very similar with subtle differences ranging from differences in the size of the flowers, size and shape of the labellum and the distribution. As a group, they are very common across the south west.
(Calyptorhynchus banksii) A large black cockatoo native to Australia. Adult males have a characteristic pair of bright red panels on the tail that gives the species its name. It is more common in the drier parts of the continent. Five subspecies are recognised, differing most significantly in beak size. The species is usually found in eucalyptus woodlands, or along water courses. In the more northerly parts of the country, these cockatoos are commonly seen in large flocks.
(Eucalyptus Macrocarpa) A mallee Eucalyptus that is native to the south-west of Western Australia and noted for its large, spectacular flowers. It is sprawling in habit and grows to between 0.8 and 5 metres in height. The silver-grey leaves are ovate-elliptic, sessile and are up to 12 cm long and 8 cm wide. The red, pink or cream flowers are up to 100 mm in diameter and occur in early spring to summer and from late autumn to early winter.
(Crotalaria cunninghamii) Also known as Regal Birdflower, is a perennial shrub that grows to about 1-3 m in height. It has hairy or woolly branches and dull green foliage. The plant’s flowers grow on long spikes at the ends of its branches, resembling a bird attached by its beak to the central stalk of the flowerhead. It is native to, and widespread in, inland northern Australia.
(Rhipidura leucophrys) Found throughout mainland Australia, Willie Wagtails are active feeders. Birds can be seen darting around lawns as they hunt for insects on the ground. As they do so, the tail is wagged from side to side. Insects are also captured in the air, in active chases. Although it is active in defending its territory, the Willie Wagtail is very tolerant and tame around humans, often feeding and nesting in close proximity of houses and human activity.
(Acacia tetragonophylla) A tree in the family Fabaceae. Endemic to Australia, it occurs on floodplains and along watercourses in arid and semi-arid areas throughout Western Australia. Kurara grows as a tall shrub or small tree up to four metres high. Like most Acacia species, it has phyllodes rather than true leaves. These are slender and needle-like, up to three centimetres long. When young they are soft and pliable, but as they mature they become hard, rigid and very sharp.
(Banksia prionotes) A species of shrub or tree of the genus Banksia in the family Proteaceae. It is native to the southwest of Western Australia and can reach up to 10 m (30 ft) in height. It can be much smaller in more exposed areas or in the north of its range. This species has serrated, dull green leaves and large, bright flower spikes, initially white before opening to a bright orange. Its common name arises from the partly opened inflorescence, which is shaped like an acorn.
(Chamelaucium uncinatum) A flowering plant endemic to Western Australia. It is an erect shrub 0.5 to 4m high, bearing white or pink flowers June-November. The name uncinatum means "hooked" in Latin, in reference to the tips of the leaves. The flowers (somewhat resembling those of the tea tree) last a relatively long time after cutting, making the plant popular in horticulture. It is widely cultivated throughout Australia, both in home gardens and in the cut flower industry.
(Hakea laurina) One of the most admired native plants of south-western Australia, and is grown in quantity in Australia and other countries. Flowers are initially pale or cream, perhaps hidden by the leaves in the early stages, and are contained by scale-like bracts before opening. These are deep pink to red on the globular centre, a clustered flowerhead at the leaf axils, pale styles emerge from these, resembling a pin cushion.
Artworks by Peta Riley
Prints are available for sale.
See our Etsy store to purchase.
Artwork by Peta Riley
Painting by Peta Riley
Painting by Peta Riley
Painting by Peta Riley
Painting by Peta Riley