The National Gallery of Australia summarises the subtlety of Namatjira's work thus:
"Water is a powerful presence; it is the central dynamic for change. Its absence or presence is the source of much of the diversity of visual forms and motifs that engaged Namatjira throughout his painting career. The 'red heart' is a misnomer for a land in which light and distance are key factors that shape perception, fragment forms and transform colour. Namatjira developed a rich repertoire of compositional devices to express his experience of being in this world. In so doing, he expands our vision. He opens our eyes and our senses to new ways of seeing the Centre."