By 1943, when Edwin started to paint, Albert’s experienced style was too complex for Edwin to emulate as a starting point.
After attempting Albert’s style unsuccessfully, Edwin restarted by reverting to Albert’s tendency of his earlier years to divide the composition into a few simple pale horizontals bands on which to express the scene as the organising principle of his compositions. This had helped Albert to portray distance in Battarbee’s method of European style landscape painting. Importantly the broad horizontal bands, (on which Albert added detail) also helped Albert translate the Arrernte practice of drawing and decorating on the ground to a vertical support in which the horizon and sky became important.
Edwin’s ‘breakaway’ involved perceiving the understated organising principle of Albert’s compositions but, unlike Albert, he intensified the colour and included only a minimum of detail. Edwin presented the colour fields dramatically. He then sorted himself out to progress in his own way. Albert’s early use of simple paler colour fields in paintings of 1936 and 1937, for example, were, no doubt, familiar to Edwin.
Edwin showed Battarbee his first attempt at a watercolour painting on 25 October 1943. Battarbee states: