Gertie Huddleston was born in the Roper River area in the Gulf of Carpenteria, Northern Territory. As a young girl she and her sisters grew up in the Mission community and attended the mission school. Gertie’s childhood was heavily influenced by the local missionaries, the girls learned embroidery and sewing and were taught to grow vegetables and flowers.
After working all day, the children would attend classes at night. Gertie enjoyed her lessons and always loved to read. As a schoolgirl, she was impressed by the water colours of Albert Namatjira, whose paintings she saw in picture books. She often included stories of the mission in her paintings alongside traditional stories.
Gertie and her fellow artists were encouraged to start painting commercially on canvas in 1984. Her style is remarkably different to the styles of North East Arnhem land and the Central Desert. However, similarly to the desert artists, Gertie used vibrant colours to depict her beloved homelands and the country.
Her paintings are an intricate, busy map like narrative depicting different detailed landscape scenes. Multi-layers showing rocks, hills, and local flora and fauna. Her paintings reflect her childhood life, the teachings of the missionaries, the changing seasons, the wildflowers and the dreaming stories.