Jack's studioJack Van Tongeren used to live a busy life in Perth, Western Australia, but he is now retired and spends his time doing beautiful drawings, dry land gardening and listening to Beethoven.

Jack spent his childhood in Box Hill, which in the 1950s was grazing land just beyond the edge of the city of Melbourne. He spent his youth wondering around and enjoying the beauty of this part of the Australian bush, as well as doing drawings. Thus, Jack's appreciation of nature and art began at a very early age. During the course of his boyhood, Jack saw Box Hill transformed from grazing land into suburb. He regretted its passing and yearned to return to the bush in the years to come. He has now achieved his dream and lives in the semi desert.

When he was just 16, Jack joined the Army Reserve. He then volunteered to serve in the Regular Army. He fought in the infantry in the Vietnam War serving in 6 Platoon, B Company, 2 RAR/NZ, the Anzac Battalion during 1970-1971. There he was a corporal and the leader of a rifle section. He was also the company's Vietnamese language interpreter. Thus, he has earned in combat the right to the title of "Anzac" and he is very well known in the modern RSL. Today Jack regrets that he believed the lies that led to his involvement in this war.

Following his discharge from the army, Jack spent many years as a salesman travelling around every state in Australia, including Tasmania. During this long period, he further developed his great love for the beauty of the Australian bush, plus a deep understanding of our sardonic Aussie character that it has shaped. This you can see in his art.

Jack has also backpacked across America, Iceland, Europe and Scandinavia. He visited these lands to learn how they contrasted or complemented his own Australian land and culture. Jack has also read extensively in the fields of history, philosophy, music, religion, economics and media. He is a versatile man who at various times in his life has been a soldier, salesman, farmer, scholar and artist. These influences are evident in his art.

In the 1990s during a difficult period in his life Jack took to drawing to preserve his sanity. He uses over 200 colors and mixes these to recreate the true colors of the Australian bush. He uses water color and polychrome, plus a variety of other types. His drawings are in the photo-realism, landscape art tradition. Jack does not just reproduce the true colors of the Australian bush, he reproduces what Dorothea MacKellar, the composer of "My Country", calls the feelings that the Goddess Australia invokes in those that love her. He uses color pencils, because he believes that these are the best medium to recreate the colors and atmosphere of the Australian bush.

In Jack's desert landscapes you can sense the lingering, ancient spirit in the blazing heat of the stark, red soil. He shows how the Australian desert is vast, flat and lost in the shimmering distance, while the forests are moist, deep and leafy and the glory of the full moon shimmers over the freezing button grass on alpine heights. His mountain scenes show the soft colors and the cold glory of their mystical fjords and lakes. In his sunset scenes you can feel the crimson glory of the setting sun over the wine red sea. There is truly a tremendous amount of raw spirituality manifested in Jack's art.

Jack has won some amateur awards. "Lake Menindee", which is shown above, won the Loxton Mardi Gras Competition of 2008, while "Clouds of Comfort" won first prize in the Victorian Veterans Community Art Competition of 2009.