A Community Collected

One of the current exhibits at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre is Blue Mountains Portraits. It features a range of artworks representing people from the local community, from well-known local personalities to the quiet achievers.

Many of the works are by local artists, which further adds to the authenticity of the collection.

One of the joys of the exhibition is getting to know the backstory behind the portraits, learning more about some of the people who live in the mountains and who bring their skills and personalities to the region. The story behind the portrait selection is also provided, often revealing a deeper connection between the artist and their subject. There is a selection of the portraits recently featured in the Blue Mountains Gazette here.

There are people who contribute to the vibrant art and music scene in the mountains, collaborators who get behind festivals and events that appeal to locals and tourists alike. There are people who work tirelessly in community organisations, making a huge difference to many people in a myriad of ways. These include firefighters and environmentalists, teachers and advocates. There is a father and son business partnership, along with some of the colourful characters who bring something unique to life in the mountain villages.

The range of artistic representation is also impressive across the forty-plus artworks. There are photographic and traditional painted portraits as well as people represented in mosaics, drawing and collages. From familiar faces to the unknown, the range of styles encourages a celebration of the local community.

The exhibition is on until 18 March 2018.

[Photo: glimpse of sculpture on the viewing platform of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre]


Ekphrasis: a writing technique

This Greek word relates to writing that is effectively triggered in response to art or music. I came across the word by chance in a Writer’s Digest article and discovered that it is an ancient concept with many adaptations and interpretations.

As a tourist in Edinburgh years ago I came across a book of poems and stories inspired by works in the National Galleries of Scotland. The book contained beautiful replicas of various artworks along with pieces that had been inspired by art. It was a glorious mix, providing a variety of viewpoints into what can be interpreted or instigated by taking the time to look at art and engage your imagination. The book is one of a number of works published following a competition originally devised to raise awareness of the various collections “to encourage writers to find imaginative links, from the personal to the universal, between art and the written word”. You can find out more about the competition here.

Years ago I used to regularly visit the Art Gallery of NSW. How I loved entering the grand building after walking through the lush green lawns of the Domain, taking shade from the gracious old trees. The tiled entrance to the gallery, skirting past the information desk and heading into the permanent collection, looking for old favourites before discovering new installations. There were many that I loved, and can still imagine them clearly years later. These included Cymon and Iphigenia by Lord Frederic Leighton, Across the Blacksoil Plains by George W Lambert and The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon by Sir Edward John Poynter. I also enjoyed the Australian gallery, becoming increasingly familiar with the styles of John Brack, Margaret Preston, Brett Whiteley and others.

What I am going to do now, though, is take the time to look through my collection of books from the works of galleries that I have visited and use them as the basis for writing prompts. Some of these may grow legs and expand into short stories or something even larger. They offer a window into another time and place, an alternative reality.

Have you ever used a piece of art as the source of creative inspiration?

[Photo: spent jacaranda blossoms on stairs at Old Buttery, Bellingen]

My I Spy: Something Beginning with ‘A’

One of my favourite blogs is Pip Lincoln’s Meet Me At Mike’s. I discovered Pip by chance after hearing her being interviewed on a podcast. At first, I must confess, I thought something like ‘ho hum, another crafty person’ but that was way off the mark. Pip is extraordinary in many ways and her book, Craft for the Soul, is a creative and inspiring balm in a nerve-jangling world.

In a recent post, Pip started to play I Spy. And she invited other people to join in. There are no rules, only loose guidelines. Weekly posts or photos or whatever format you like – you can read the guidelines here. It got me thinking about what is around me, in an alphabetical kind of way. So I’m going to give it a go, using images of what I have around me, and what I come across in my meanderings.

A is for Apple

A is for Apple

A is for Apples

An obvious starting point, perhaps. I almost always have apples at home. My favourite are Granny Smith apples, particularly when they have that heady mix of tartness and sweetness. Good to eat as is, or to stew slowly and have on porridge or baked rice pudding.

Artwork by Catherine Rose

Artwork by Catherine Rose

A is for Art

These two mini canvases, ‘Pink Peonies’ and ‘Agapanthas’ are by Catherine Rose, an artist based in the Lithgow area. I discovered them at the K Gallery in Lithgow run by the enthusiastic Karen Matthews. These paintings have brightened my kitchen through the winter months when blooms are elusive in a mountain garden.

Ashtray at the Hydro Majestic

Ashtray at the Hydro Majestic

A is for Ashtray

I spotted this at the Hydro Majestic Pavillion this week whilst browsing for a gift for a friend. It is just one piece of a plethora of memorabilia from the Hydro Majestic on display.

And now to start spying for B …