Just over a year and a half ago we decided to move to Dunsborough, 3 hours south west of Perth, Western Australia.
Local Meelup beach
We had been living in Willetton for the last 20 years in the only home we had owned since migrating from South Africa. My husband and I both felt we were ready for a sea change!
The move was not an easy one. My husband Menno worked right up until shortly before we left so it was up to me to pack up our home of twenty years. This proved to be an enormous task! I had a garage sale every weekend for 6 weeks! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a collector of stuff!!!!
By the time we relocated unpacked and settled I had lost seven months’ production. I was completely exhausted and in so many ways felt that ‘The wheels had fallen off the bus’!
In Perth I felt I had established myself as an artist. I had been president of the Alfred Cove Art Society for 2 years. I had been judging art and craft for more than ten years and had been tutoring art for many years.
Some of the wonderful ladies in my art class of more then 17 years
Here we were in our new home, not knowing anybody and starting all over again. Had we made the right decision? Had I made a mistake as far as my art was concerned? Would we fit into our new environment? Filled with mixed emotions and suffering from exhaustion I never felt like I would be normal again.
A few months after settling in I was invited to be on the Colour in Your Life Art program. My studio wasn’t even complete and I wondered if I should do it.
Graeme Stevenson and me in my brand new studio!
Well if you read one of my previous blogs you will see I did and it was a most enjoyable experience and basically kick started me back into action.
Now where do I go, what do I do, how do I get my art out there again?
Life has a way of putting you where you need to be, sometimes taking you out of your comfort zone and on a path you did not expect.
The Studio Gallery in Yallingup approached me inviting me to exhibit with them with my still life paintings. I was delighted and started work immediately on a new collection of miniatures.
The very first piece I did for the gallery
One day when leaving the gallery, I spotted a little red robin sitting on the fence as we were driving out. ‘STOP THE CAR’ I said to my husband which he did wondering what the problem was. Luckily my camera was in my bag where it usually is! My husband rolled the window down and I started clicking away. Well this little robin sat there for ages, posing this way and that as if to say “This is my best side”, “No this is”. I couldn’t believe my luck. Then off he flew. I discovered that this beautiful delicate little bird is a scarlet robin and is a resident in the gallery grounds.
I sneaked the robin into one of my still life paintings and wondered what the gallery would think? When the painting was delivered it was hung and sold almost immediately!
Studio Robin’s debut
This year the Gallery invited me to be their artist in residence during the Margaret River Open Studios. A large annual event with many artists in the region participating from Busselton to Augusta.
This was the most wonderful opportunity for me and for three weekends in April I did what I love to do most and that is paint nonstop!
For two of the weekends I was able to paint outdoors under a canopy on their stage. This was truly an ‘Open Studio.’ I met so many people from all over the world, Dublin, Scotland, America, UK, Cape Town, Zimbabwe, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Many other artists also visited for a chat or a quick look in between their own open studio.
Having fun in the sun!
I was especially delighted that there were so many interested children who stood and watched me, asking questions and sharing with me what they loved to draw and paint. One boy even named some of my eggs which I had painted in a large blue and white bowl. He pointed to the one egg and said, “I have given that one a name”. Curious I asked him what it was and he said, “Yoko”! I thought that was very clever. He walked away and a little later returned with his Dad and said to me “Did I know that Yoko had twin brothers”? Now really intrigued I asked him if they had names and he said yes, “Egglette and Omelette”! I was delighted such a wonderful imagination. He had obviously given it much thought!
See if you can spot the twins!
When you relocate to a new area out of your comfort zone, have no friends and feel isolated it is difficult to have a sense of belonging. Moving into an area that is rich with creativity, surrounded by an abundance of well know and established artists can be very daunting and isolating. You are the ‘new kid on the block’ and you have to find your way.
Participating in the Open Studios as artist in residence at the Studio Gallery gave me the opportunity to feel like a part of the community, giving me the chance to interact with locals and meet new people. I am sincerely grateful to Sandy and Steve Tippett for their support.
Slowly I am beginning to feel like I belong but suspect it will take more time to be accepted!