Last Words for 2014

2014Article posted by Gilly

I’ve had Internet connection issues over the past several days which prevented posting this ‘blog’ earlier. Therefore, it may now be my final one for this year as the run-up to Xmas is always frantic for everyone. So I take the opportunity to wish everyone, friends and followers and the casual reader, a Very Merry Xmas and wonderful experiences and opportunities in 2015.

Further to my soapbox rant in the previous ‘blog’ (about art apathy in The Swan Valley), I received this email from Dale Tilbrook who has kindly given permission for me to reproduce it here:

“Thanks for the trip down memory lane Gilly.  I think it was unfortunate for the art group that we were attempting to do this in a time of global economic chaos.  The GFC and the strong Australian dollar meant fewer tourists coming to Australia.  We always had a strong VFR (visiting friends and relatives) component in the Swan Valley which meant that locals came exploring when they had visitors from overseas.  Coupled with this, outbound tourism went crazy because overseas holidays were cheap with the strong Aussie dollar, so we didn’t have folk from the East coming either and locals spent their money in Bali.  And to top it all, the premier festival fell over along with the Swan Valley Tourism Council, so no Spring in the Valley bringing the happy hoards in.  The Swan Valley is still in a slump because the marketing is little and so fragmented.  We have an award winning Visitor Information Centre but not an award winning Marketing Campaign.”

Which, in Dale’s inimitable and intelligent style, I think sums up the whole dilemma of the Swan Valley.

Not to be disheartened,’though, this week I took several paintings along to Houghtons Winery (Dale Rd., Middle Swan) to be displayed in their art gallery precinct. Not an exhibition, as such, just a small showing of 8-9 pieces. Dez Smith runs the gallery so a lot of his wonderfully colourful and quirky work is on display there, but he also invites ‘guest artists’ to display or hold exhibitions as added interest, and I was pleased that he asked me. My paintings will be there until 21st December and, possibly, I’ll have another display during next February, but I’ll let you know if that happens. Houghtons is probably the only winery in The Valley that does attract viewers to an art gallery and they are very supportive of local artists.

On the 25th October I went with my friend, Jean Trew, on a jaunt to the Mundaring Open Studios. We had such a wonderful time, even ‘though we only managed to visit four of the Studios that were open - too much talking about art at each one!!! These artists were so generous with their time and their premises and I was in awe at the fantastic artwork and fabulous Studios. I love my little Studio, but these were quite special. Willem Heyneker fashions amazing jewellery and several of his creations have been used on models walking international catwalks.  (I also realised that I knew Willem many years ago, when I first came to Australia, so it was very interesting to catch up again and see how each of us has developed and moved on through our lives!)

Judi Kotai was delightful and so interesting, her Studio virtually in the treetops overlooking wooded bushland, paddocks and horses. We spent quite a long while with her discussing her lovely work and soaking in the ambience of her bushland setting. What a wonderful situation in which to paint. No wonder she’s so creative.

Christine Hingston was also a joy to meet and her work space just breathtaking, purpose-built with it’s big ceilings and so spacious and full of light. It showed her quirky, brilliant canvases to perfection. Sadly, for us here in Perth, Christine is planning to move permanently to Bali. She loves it there and conducts many painting holiday workshops over there so said it makes sense to actually live there. She will return to Perth frequently to display and sell her glorious paintings.

Greg Crowe’s pottery was our final stop of the day, quite a hike to actually locate his workshop but once in there his pottery was beautiful and I couldn’t resist buying a wonderfully sensuous jug for my collection. 

I loved listening to the passion of these amazingly creative people, all so different, yet all so much the same with their love and energy and outpouring which they infuse into the art that they make. It was a really fantastic day.

And it gave me inspiration to get back into my own Studio, to try and expand my own imagination a little more. I’ll never be anything but a realist painter because that is how I like to depict my subjects, but I have had a go at trying to view from a different perspective hence, a pastel of a horse galloping through the clouds!!! Those people who’ve seen it like it and it was an interesting and fun project. I’ve also completed a little pastel from a photo that my daughter sent to me, a Northern Cardinal on a snowy branch, the photo taken during their first winter in the states. The little bird is scarlet against the snowy backdrop. I made some alterations to the composition for aesthetic effect, and it is a very sweet little pastel currently hanging on my bedroom wall. Also, because Dez said that if anything sells from the Houghtons display it would probably be small, I did a little watercolour of a rooster which turned out quite well and fitted beautifully into a recycled frame! I do have a couple of larger paintings there but can understand that smaller paintings are more appealing to visitors.

So, there we are for another year. I’m looking forward to the summer break, as usual, without art group commitments and exhibitions to work towards, just being able to paint quietly and happily at the subjects I love the most. I realise that I am a very lucky and blessed person, to have the time, the space, and the passion to do what means the most to me in this life. I wish that blessing on every one of you who reads this, too.



Dale Tilbrook | November 29, 2014

Merry Christmas Gilly and all the best for the New Year.

Margaret Rees | November 29, 2014

Hello Gilly,
Great to read your blog again and very best wishes to you for Christmas and for an exciting year in 2015.
I am pleased to tell you that I have recently won two more People’s Choice Awards at Somers Arts Fair and at my Peninsula Arts Society for cow oil paintings.  Today I made arrangements to be in a joint exhibition at a gallery in Melbourne next March/April so I have some serious work to get done. 
I look forward to keeping in touch with you next year.  All the very best,
Margaret Rees

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