Penny Heuston artist with dog Reggie

Penny Heuston

The Heuston Herd
Warren, NSW

What do you make?

I am a lover of cows and a painter of these bovine beauties, along with a few feathered friends and the odd hound! There are paintings of all different sizes to fit peoples homes along with quality prints and cards.

What do you want customers to know about you and/or your work/product/business?

The Heuston Herd consists of myself and my marketing manager, Reggie the dog aka #reggiefrommarketing. I’m sure that hound gets more love on Instagram than myself! I am a sometime ag consultant and sometime painter. I have been painting for about 10 years now but really only launched this business ~3 years ago with a little encouragement from a marketing friend…who dragged me kicking and screaming into setting up my website.

To me, the paintings are not just paint on canvas but rather I hope to capture the personality of each animal who will then look and interact with the viewer. Each beastie has its own mannerisms and there is often a story behind the photo the work was based on.

Most of the cows I paint I have photographed myself, from Nowra to Mount Isa and overseas. And friends send me photos. I also do commissions, with people sending me images. I recently did one for a bride for her husband to be of a shorthorn bull as a wedding present…went down a treat!!

Much thought goes into the cow’s names and where they are from, its not like you could have a dairy cow from Longreach!

Where do you draw inspiration?

My love affair with these beasties began after a stint in the UK on a dairy farm whilst on an agricultural exchange straight out of uni.

Inspiration can come on a daily basis on my morning constitutional with Reggie. There are some lovely cattle in the neighbour’s paddocks that are super quiet and always come up to say hi, I don’t know how many of these I have painted. My neighbour also has an opportunity feedlot, so I spend a lot of time sitting in there with my camera.

What are your hopes for your business/work/practice?

My hopes for the Heuston Herd is that it continues to grow, that I continue to grow as an artist and that I can make people smile by putting an engaging animal in their home that they love.

Where do you live? Tell us about your place/community

I am based in wonderful Warren in Central West NSW, where I live on 26 ac on the edge of town with too many horses, too big a garden and one rescue dog! My life is very full.

Warren is a great little community that has seen a really tough 5+ years with droughts, mice etc., but it is the sense of community of this town that has been the glue that has held it together. People are really encouraging regarding my art work and always engaging with me down the street on how it is going. There is a wealth of talent in this little place of artistic folk who are all super supportive of each other.

What is it like making/creating from a rural/remote community? (are there particular challenges or joys?)

I really don’t find many challenges, I think I would find more if I lived in a large centre. I get to work the bush which I love, I get to engage with cattle on a daily basis for inspiration and I get to live in a great community.

As I mentioned previously, I think one of the joys of producing art here is that everyone is so encouraging and interested in what you do. You also get the opportunity to see your works in many local homes, that’s a thrill (and you get to solve “husbands who haven’t bought their wife a present” dilemmas!).

How has BFTB impacted your business?

Buy from the bush has been amazing for me. I am so proud of it, it was set up here in my local town by a friend Grace Brennan when the drought was at its height. Wow, what a success it has been!! I owe them so much for all they have done for my business. It has allowed me not to feel guilty when I paint on a ‘school day’, as now my artwork is a legitimate income stream in its own right and I try and paint 1.5 days per week. I have even built a purpose-built studio, due in part to many of the sales BFTB has helped generate.

What does it mean to you when a customer decides to purchase your product? How do you celebrate?

I get a little thrill with every order and Reggie gets a pat!

The best bit about my business is the client contact and the interaction you have with them. You are not just selling a product, but also selling a story. I think that being part of the BFTB community comes with a duty. To engage on a personal level with your clients and really appreciate all they have done, not just for your business, but also those of the rest of the town where the flow on effects are felt.

It is such a thrill to see my artwork hanging in people’s homes and the joy it gives to them. The feedback I get is so welcome and gives me such a buzz. I get lots of photos from people of the beasts on their walls. So many pieces go to the city, this really surprised me.

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