‘Tears of the rhino’ has a voice

Having the opportunity to re-create my painting ‘Tears of the rhino’ on the ‘Colour in Your Life’ television art series gave me a wonderful opportunity to show my passion to the world.

Using my art as a vehicle, combining not only my passion  for art but wildlife is an honour and a privilege.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Graeme Stevenson from ‘Colour In You Life’ and his amazing team for giving me an opportunity of a life time.

Since the program aired last weekend I have had the most incredible feedback from all over the world which is so encouraging. I hope that in some way my art is able to ‘give back’ to help draw attention to our ever increasing loss of  wildlife. A worldwide problem due to not only the environmental changes but also the senseless slaughtering of innocent animals for human greed.

I never dreamed that my painting ‘Tears of the rhino’ – hear my voice would indeed find such a powerful voice and keep company with such prominent people.

All I have is my art but with such prominent people on board the RAGES ONE FIGHT UNITE SAY NO poster campaign maybe, just maybe change will eventuate.

With so much happening in the world both environmentally, with the constant tragic loss of human life one might say why bother with the wildlife? Are we not all connected in some way?  Linked by an invisible chain? Are we not charged with the responsibility of taking care of each other?

There seems to be such an imbalance of power and money from the mega wealthy to total poverty. What is the answer?

Even though  my contribution seems so minuscule in the scheme of things, I choose as an artist to give a voice to those who cannot speak and only hope in some way to contribute towards this planet we call home.

If you care and wish to share and spread the word here is the utube link to view how ‘Tears of the rhino’ was created and hopefully the rhino’s voice will get louder and louder as it journeys around the world. So if you listen carefully you might hear that rhino fading in the distance calling, “PLEASE HELP ME!” 

Paula Wiegmink utube:        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgcXE7_4K08

Here are just a few of the amazing people who have signed to  ‘SAY NO’ so far

32 Brian May

Brian May – Queen

34 Kevin Richardson

Kevin Richardson – ‘The Lion whisperer’

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Jean-Claude Van Damme

29 Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick MBE 30

Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick MBE

8d the wolf says no

Tonya Littlewolf – Wolf Mountain Sanctuary – Even the wolf says no!

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Dame Vivienne Westwood

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have come on board to ‘SAY NO’  showing  your support to end animal cruelty and to save our endangered species.

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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

April 23rd was set to be an interesting evening as we set off to listen to Damien Mander give a talk at the Conference Center at the Perth Zoo, Western Australia. This event was organised by the Save African Rhino Foundation:

http://www.savefoundation.org.au/newsite/

The evening started off on a very sombre note as John Lemon gave a very heart wrenching tribute as he fare-welled his friend and associate Greg Gibbard, who was recently brutally murdered in Zimbabwe. A minutes silence was observed as a token of respect to this much loved and respected man

Over 130 people attended the evening and more than $13,000 was raised, all of which will go into Damien’s project in Mozambique.

Damien Mander who now resides in South Africa served as a Special Operations Sniper and Clearance Diver in the Australian Defence Force.  In 2009 he used his life savings to start the International Anti-poaching Foundation. This organisation is dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildlife by focusing on ranger training and establishing crack anti-poaching units. The IAPF – has operated in South Africa, Australia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and continues to give support by training local units free of charge. The IAPF is funded by fundraising activities and grants.  https://www.facebook.com/iapf.org

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Damien receiving much needed goods donated by Marc McDonald

Damien’s talk was very informative although very distressing as the realization set in that we are far from resolving the rapid destruction of the world’s precious rhino along with so many other species. It is such a large and complex issue.

Damien’s talk was followed by the signing of the Rages One Fight Unite poster by Damien and Save’s very own Nicholas Duncan. Both these wildlife warriors showed their support for this international campaign by signing the poster and together SAYING NO.

Nicholas Duncan who started the Save African Rhino Foundation in July 1989, has dedicated the last 28 years of his life on a purely 100% voluntary basis towards saving the rhino in Africa. Nicholas works tirelessly by raising funds for this not for profit organisation by hosting annual dinners/auctions fundraising events, Safaris and member donations. One of the leading supporters of rhino conservation in Zimbabwe, the SAVE African Rhino Foundation has donated more than $5.2 million worth of field equipment, supporting the ongoing wildlife war in Africa.

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                                                     Paula, Nicholas and Damien

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                                                          Nicholas doing his thing!

The evening ended with a fund raising auction conducted in hilarious fashion by Nicholas!

It was indeed an honour and a privilege to attend this most memorable evening all in the name of wildlife conservation.

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THE DAY COLOUR CAME INTO MY LIFE

Recently I was contacted by Graeme Stevenson creator of the TV Art program series ‘Colour In Your Life’. He informed me that he was coming to film artists in WA for the first time and invited me to be a part of his next series. I was absolutely delighted!

The exciting part of this all is that Graeme asked me if I was willing to do my segment explaining my inspiration and method used to paint ‘Tears of the rhino’. This for me was the cherry on the top as it enabled me to draw attention to the out of control worldwide wildlife crime, which is of paramount importance to me.

Graeme and Sophia arrived early morning, Wednesday 4th March  and immediately set to work preparing for a full days filming.

My studio was instantly transformed into a film set with cameras, lighting, microphones etc. Graeme quickly jumped into action looking through all the material that I had provided him, asking me questions and telling me how the day would progress.

Sophia What  a smile Sophia!

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Graeme hard at work

The studio was abuzz with excitement and I must admit a degree of nervous energy coursing through my veins!

In about an hour everything was set up and we were ready to roll, “Camera, action” and we were off!

The day wasn’t without its challenges. It seems that every car in Dunsborough Lakes decided to drive past my house with alarming regularity, causing poor Sophia to almost go into melt down. “Cut”, “Ready action”, “Cut”, pause, for car to pass, “Ready, action” and so it went on all day.

The atmosphere was relaxed as we settled into a degree of continuity, cars permitting. With their professionalism the day rolled by in a relaxed and happy atmosphere as I painted, recreating ‘Tears of the rhino’.

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‘Tears of the rhino’

This was a challenge in itself as the painting was done a while ago. Luckily the whole process had been documented for a demo published in the Artists Palette Magazine which was a bonus for me. So I was able to put my own notes into action which made my task so much easier. Although no two paintings are the same there was enough information in my notes to enable me to recreate the painting, allowing the audience to follow the methods used for this piece.

It must have been equally challenging for  Sue and Merryl who were doing all the catering for my studio opening that same night, in complete silence. The kitchen being just a stones throw away made it very difficult indeed. I don’t know how they did it. Only once did Sophia have to admonish them for becoming  vocal in a moment of weakness!

Sue Graeme and Merryl

Sue, Graeme and Merryl

We finally reached the end of the days filming with Sophia’s final, “Cut and that’s a wrap!” We all breathed a sigh of relief.

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Paula and Graeme at the end of a long day

As I began to relax I realized how exhausted I was. A combination of nervous energy and excitement finally took its toll.  Graeme and Sophia equally worn out but their whirlwind visit to the South West.

Graeme and Sophia, videographer extraordinaire, kindly stayed on after filming to officially open my new studio with invited guests. It was a wonderful evening meeting new friends and sharing the love of art while sipping a wonderful glass of bubbly sponsored by Singlefile Wines, Denmark. This together with the superb spread provided by special friends made it a night to remember.  (http://www.singlefilewines.com/)

Grame and Sophia

Graeme and Sophia

Graeme and Sophia had to leave early evening to move onto the next town do it all again the following day. An exhausting and demanding trip for them.

The ‘Colour In Your Life’ television series was created by Master Artist and CEO Graeme Stevenson. The show was nominated for two Logie awards in 2012 and began to air nationally on the network TV4Me.

The series has since been picked up by free-to-air New Zealand, Sky TV, Foxtel Aurora 183, and Virgin Airways worldwide, as well as 8 channels in the USA. For further details go to: http://www.colourinyourlife.com.au/

Graeme has filled a void in the art world in Australia and continually takes us into the studios of artists working in a variety of mediums and genres. Giving us insight into their everyday working methods.

The program should be aired in about 6 weeks’ time on TV4me. In WA this is channel 64.

It was such a wonderful yet exhausting day, but one I will treasure forever.

    A big thank you to Graeme for putting some ‘Colour In Our Lives!’

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RAGES – one fight unite

Since my visit to South Africa in 2012, when I was invited over to do a large painting of a rhino on World Rhino Day, nothing much has changed. The rhino are still being slaughtered at an alarming rate with more than 1000 killed in 2014 in South Africa alone. It seems that greed and corruption in the highest places is aiding poachers and buyers worldwide. It simply astonishes me that even though the rhino horn has been scientifically proved to be nothing more than keratin, which is the same compound as our finger nails, the slaughter continues.

The RAGES  – Rotarian action group for endangered species have taken the initiative in collaboration with Besureis and together they have just launched a poster campaign to raise awareness through education. This is a very exciting initiative and could have the power to make change as long as they get the support they need from the public –http://www.endangeredrag.org/  – http://www.besureis.com/

It always amazes me that issues that are so important seem to have so little support from the wider public. Is it because it is too painful to face the truth? Or do we generally just not care? Should we just file it into the too hard basket?

I have been asked several times if I don’t feel that it is just a waste of my time trying to stop the slaughtering of innocent animals on such a large scale? To this I say “Is it not better to try than just throw my hands up in resignation?”  I don’t want to reach the end of my life and know I didn’t even try. I want future generations to be able to see a rhino in the wild in their natural habitat not only in some museum showcase. We do have the power to stop this if only we can get the right people on board. People who have a high profile, people that have a voice, and will be listened to.

The RAGES group have collaborated with an incredibly talented group of musicians called Besureis to launch a poster campaign called SAY NO- ONE FIGHT UNITE. Some time back I was contacted by RAGES who requested my permission to use the image of my painting ‘Tears of the rhino’ for their logo. I of course agreed as I always wanted my painting to work for the rhino.

This year they approached me to tell me about their campaign and wanted to know if I would give permission for the image to be used for a poster. I am not only delighted but feel very honoured to be apart of this incredible journey. My painting ‘Tears of the rhino’ was born from a place deep inside me and it gives me such pleasure to know that the image is being used for such a worthy cause. Tears of the rhino is not a pretty picture of a rhino, it is confronting. It is meant to be, it is shameful, it disgusts, it evokes compassion and hopefully action.

The campaign kicked off on the 20th January with their first signature by none other than DR JANE GOODALL. What a great start and such a fitting person to honour us with her support.

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The second person to sign the poster is none other than SEAL. Well if we wanted a voice we surely got one of the best! This incredibly talented man has shown his support and we are absolutely delighted.

Seal of approval!

Seal of approval

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The talented musical group Besureis meet an angel – one fight unite

Please take the time to visit the Rages one fight unite campaign page and like, share and comment and lets turn this viral. You have the power so lets show the world that we can make a difference! Now is the time for action, not apathy. Now is the time to take control and make a change………

You can do this by visiting the links given, like, share, comment you have the power!         https://www.facebook.com/rages.one.fight.unite

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A brush with fame – my dream came true

In June this year,  one of my paintings titled: ‘To the Point’ of an African pale chanting goshawk, acrylic on canvas was selected for the ‘David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year’ exhibition in London! Needless to say I was delighted not only with being selected but for the opportunity to meet a man I have the greatest admiration for.

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‘To the point’ – acrylic on canvas

Many years ago, I was given a second hand book entitled ‘The man who loves giants’, about the life of David Shepherd and his passion for elephants. After reading his book, I was inspired by his life achievements, not only as an artist but for his lifelong dedication to wildlife conservation.

 The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation is a charity organisation that has funded key projects in Africa and Asia to save critically endangered mammals.

David Shepherd is known internationally as an artist and ambassador for wildlife.

“Since time immemorial, one species became extinct every century. Today, one becomes extinct every hour. Wildlife around the world is being decimated by an awesome onslaught of threats ranging from habitat destruction and hunting, to pollution. Another serious threat – wildlife crime – is worth a staggering US$8 billion annually, third only to the illegal trade in drugs and guns. People have slaughtered 98% of the world’s black rhinos… wiped out more than half of Africa’s elephants and three sub-species of tiger have disappeared forever. We need your help today – tomorrow will be too late.” David Shepherd CBE FRSA

So the decision was made to go to London to attend the opening of the the exhibition which is run annually as a fundraiser for the ‘David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’ attracting entries worldwide. The exhibition ran from the 3rd – 7th June at the Mall Galleries, Mall Street in the heart of London.

The flight to London was a long one but was made so much more enjoyable as I was accompanied by my dear friend Irene. We stayed in Crickelwood not far from London  central with a friend. Our bus trip into London  everyday passed by the Abbey Road studios made famous by the Beatles album cover.

Our first bus journey into London took us to Oxford Street from where we decided to walk to look for the gallery. Being a country girl by heart having spent my youth on farms I was overcome by the sheer volume of people. I stood mesmerized by the hustle and bustle of inner London.

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Entrance to Buckingham Palace where incidentally we saw the Queen!

Great excitement built up over the next few days until the opening  night. My first mission was to meet David in person so we headed off early to the gallery only to find that the doors would only open in about another 45 minutes. Waiting was excruciating as I was a bundle of nervous energy, like a cat on a hot tin roof. We decided to wait, sitting on the step of a nearby statue and directly in our line of vision, was none other than Buckingham Palace in the distance! I wanted to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

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Entrance to the Mall Galleries on opening night

Finally the doors opened and  I immediately set off to hunt down Mr Shepherd! He was engaged in conversation with another artist I presumed, so I stood a comfortable distance and waited. The artist finally walked away and I swooped in. What a thrill it was to stand now face to face with David talking art and conservation. He inquired where my painting was hanging and suggested we go and look at it together. I thought my knees were going to buckle.

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David Shepherd with Paula

There we stood  looking up at my painting as he told me what he thought about it and the techniques & style I had used, it was all surreal. Undoubtedly one of the most famous wildlife artists standing looking and critiquing  my work! He was most complementary a true gentleman,  a warm and down to earth man, so approachable. I finally released him to the next eager artist wanting to get a peace of him. But I was  satisfied that I had now definitely achieved a great big tick on my bucket list! What a thrill.

More than 450 artists, friends and invited guests attended the opening night and the air was electric. I met a couple of fellow artists from Paris as we feasted our eyes on all the wonderful art from all over the world. It was thrilling, exhilarating and inspiring.

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Opening night at the Mall Galleries

During the week of the exhibition I managed to meet with David again and this time we sat chatting as he signed one of his prints that I had purchased. A moment in time that will stay with me for ever, a gift. I even stole a kiss of which he quipped “That should bode well for British – Australian relations.”

How many times in our lives do we get to have the living experience of meeting someone who has  inspired our career path? A true blessing.

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David Shepherd – signing my print

I even had a few  visitors of my own to the exhibition, friends from Scotland, a few relatives who made an incredible effort to get to the gallery as well as friends from London. All of whom contributed to making this  an incredibly memorable and cherished experience.

There was also the added bonus of seeing artist Hazel Soans in action, demonstrating at the gallery during the exhibition. What a thrill to see such an accomplished artist at work. A master at her craft. My dear cousin Joan very generously purchased one of Hazels books as a gift to me, which the artist signed.

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Hazel Soans with Paula (see if you can spot my painting in the background)

After the completion of the exhibition we visited as many galleries as possible. The London National Gallery twice, the Portrait Gallery, Tait Britain and more.

We also visited the London Zoo spending a wonderful day expploring, the sun was shinning and the animals were abundant and right at the end we got to see the gorillas!

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Meerkat

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Pygmy Hippo

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Squirrel spotted in one of the parks

We then set off to Swansea, Wales to visit friends for a few days. A beautiful part of the world steeped in history. It is here that I got to see my very first ancient castle, only 700 years old! Not that old according to the locals.

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Castle in Swansea – Wales

Barn Owl

Baby barn owl squatting in the shade of my friend

After Wales it was off to the Kent region to visit family, where I got to see the meridian stone, another castle,  some very quaint village towns, a Henry Moore sculpture and many more incredible artworks.

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The Guitar Player – Vermeer

(I was blown away by the vivid colours and wonderful light in this painting which was a lot smaller than I expected it to be)

The last five days of this amazing holiday was spent in Paris, my first visit and what an experience. A feast for the senses and yes I did see the Mona Lisa! How could I not and it was thrilling even though I had to fight through a wall of other sightseers. It impossible to absorb it all. I will just have to do it all again!

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Giant portrait

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Such a feast for the eyes

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Approaching the Eiffel Tower for the very first time

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 Mona Lisa – The cherry on the top

I only hope that during my lifetime I can in some way make a contribution to saving especially the wildlife of our planet. How insignificant I feel  in the greater scheme of things. Yet I will strive towards  change that is so desperately needed in the mindset of man to saving our planet from our own destruction.    

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Paula’s African Art Safari 2013

This tour was organised in conjunction with ‘The Save African Rhino Foundation’ in Perth, to help raise funds towards the conservation of these magnificent animals which are now in danger of becoming extinct.

The groups first stop was Musango Safari Camp on the shores of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe, where the incredibly beautiful surroundings offered an abundance of wild life, birds and picturesque scenery.

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Sunset near Musango

Each day was an adventure of sights and sounds. The group also visited a local BaTonga fishing village and were transported there in a catamaran. We were given a guided tour by the village chairman. The people of this village lead a subsistent lifestyle yet seem so happy. The children delighted at having their photos taken, each vying for a position in front of the camera. This visit was a very humbling experience and we were all deeply touched.

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The next stop was the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge where the group were able to view elephants, kudu, warthog, and buffalo plus many more species, coming and going at the lodges very own waterhole.

Impala come down to drink at the waterhole

Impala come down to drink at the waterhole

The mighty Victoria Falls cascaded into the gorge below creating a misty froth and some of the artists took this opportunity to rest on a fallen log to make a quick sketch.

Spectacular sight

Spectacular sight

The group then set off to visit the Hwange National Park and were lucky to make a quick stop at the Painted Dog Conservancy, where great efforts are being made to save these animals which are now also in danger of becoming extinct.

African wild dog - We were very lucky to spot this pack!

African wild dog – also known as the painted dog. We were very lucky to spot this pack!

Staying at the luxury tented Safari camp called ‘The Hide’ proved a great success and even the sounds of a roaring lion could be heard in the early hours of the morning!

Our luxury tented accommodation

Our luxury tented accommodation

The last stop was the Amalinda lodge in the region of the Mtopos National Park. Nestled up against the granite rock, the thatched roof building blended perfectly into the surroundings. The ethnic and unique decor reminiscent of ‘Fred Flintsones’ abode, delighted all!

Absolutely fabulous!

Absolutely fabulous!

One of the many highlights of the Safari was a guided walk accompanied by two armed guards to see the white rhino. Only when you get up close to these animals do you realise their sheer bulk and power. It was a truly stirring experience for all. To know that these animals are being wiped out at an alarming rate seems so senseless, when the horns are of no medicinal value at all. How can man be so greedy and stupid?

Up close and personal!

Up close and personal!

This was a trip of a lifetime and the tour raised $6,000 donated to the ‘Save African Rhino Foundation,’ Perth, Western Australia, which over the last 20 years have made an incredible effort towards conservation.

Due to the success of this tour, I  have once again offered to donate my time in the effort to help save these majestic animals.  “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and know that I didn’t try to make a difference”, “I hope that my grandchildren and the generations to come will have the privilege of seeing these animals safely roaming free in their natural habitat.”

I personally took over 6,000 photos and now have an abundance of reference material for my painting. Needless to say everyone on tour clicked away furiously and have memories and references in abundance.

This tour is suitable for artists, photographers and sightseers so everyone is welcome!

If you wish to join me on my 2014 Safari  and help to stop wildlife crime, please contact me to book a spot asap as places are limited – email: paulaw_art@hotmail.com

Web: http://paulawiegmink.com.au/

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Painting waves at Caves House Hotel Yallingup

I was invited to be artist in residence on the afternoon of the official movie premier for ‘Drift’ starring Sam Worthington at the iconic Yallingup Caves House Hotel, South Western Australia, on Thursday 21st March.

Leaving Perth at 9:45 am we arrived in Dunsborough at about 12:30 in the afternoon. We had a quick bite to eat and then travelled to the hotel  where we unpacked the car and set out my easel and paintings on the stage near the restaurant/pub area.

Most areas were now cordoned off to the general public and I had to park my vehicle in the area where a bright red helicopter was parked!

There was an air of great excitement as the staff buzzed around shifting into overdrive in preparation for the 1,500 people expected to attend this exciting outdoor event.

As the pub area gradually started filling, some onlookers showed an interest in my paintings especially the surfing sunset I was working on.

The masses started arriving by the bus loads and the queue steadily swelled. The line eventually extended all the way from the parking lot at the back of the hotel, right round and down the front road entrance finally snaking its way down the red carpet to the outdoor arena. The security was tight and the crowd was well controlled and monitored.  The air was electric with anticipation as the audience, some armed with bean bags and blankets awaited the arrival of the stars. The ladies were dazzling in an array of beautiful gowns. Not to be outdone the men donned their hats and fancy coats and looked every bit as suave. A young man wearing a beanie arrived in a ‘combie’ accompanied by a petite brunette and and as they climbed out of the vehicle everyone started clapping. I wasn’t able to get a close look but judging by the people’s reaction I presume this was Xavier Samuels. This was definitely an event not to be missed as the cameras and paparazzi furiously clicked and filmed away! 

As the movie commenced my friend Merryl and I decided to pack up and then settled down for a wonderful meal outside the pub, where I had been painting. Although I did not have tickets to the premier it was wonderful to be a part of the evening in my own way.

The rumble of the movie echoed across the crisp night air as the Yallingup folk and visitors soaked up the surf!

Thank you to Steve and the staff of caves House Hotel for a wonderful day.

Painting of a surfer

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