From about 1896 Long fused a direct approach to depicting landscape with an interest in pattern and form.

In these paintings he kept his compositions dramatically simple by reducing the scene to the essentials, adopting clearly defined outlines and using flattened blocks of colour to translate the river and the land into solid shapes.

This was a new decorative way of depicting the Australian landscape, and one of Long’s own devising. It was a stepping back from naturalism and, to some extent, it was modern.

In his 1905 essay ‘The trend of Australian art considered and discussed’, he suggested that the artist should become ‘dependent on delicate colour harmonies for the representation of his ideas – ideas which he, perforce, must treat in a symbolic and decorative manner’.