On Friday 24 August 2007 I boarded a plane and headed back to the extraordinary city of Melbourne for a two day ‘backgrounds’ workshop under the tutelage of the amazingly talented Joy Bathie. This would be my second time I’ve had the privilege of being taught by Joy in the last 3 years and moving cities certainly didn’t keep me away.
To those who ever have the opportunity to be taught by Joy, grab it, is all I can say. An experience not to be missed. Apart from her astounding talent, Joy is the very epitome of a calming soul, a woman with a more beautiful nature, I’ve not met in a while, and this all spills out into the work she creates.
Another remarkable woman would be Carolyn (Caro) Biletziclis from Ancient Echoes who hosted the workshop. Caro opened her ‘former home’, now turned into her office/workshop for classes/studio for the invasion of about 17 woman, all eager to get ‘down and dirty’ with paint, water, gel medium, images, and anything else that appealed to us for inclusion on our canvases, and of course the most important – the chance to drool over Joy’s various altered books that she never fails to bring along, oh yes and least I forget - the next best thing – the food. No student could ever say we went home undernourished. Ancient Echoes (Caro), again outdid herself and a big thank you goes to the ‘caterer’, Lucy Leatham for the array of food and desert spread before us for the 2 days. Quite honestly it was impossible to sample everything, but that which I did, was absolutely superb. Can’t remember when last I’ve been fed so well with such a diverse collection of food. Simply delicious – thank you to Caro, Lucy and those wonderful souls behind the scenes for the nourishment.
Another aspect to mention, before I get to the artwork, would be the environment in which we spent the 2 days. Often you attend a workshop in a relatively large room with four plain cream walls and possibly one average size window in the corner – not so at Ancient Echoes – here we were nestled among nature. Our ‘work’ room was beautiful, cosy, comfortable, pictures adorned the walls, a bookshelf on another and one entire wall was replaced by windows (floor to ceiling), with beautiful wood trimmings that looked out onto a beautiful deck completely enveloped in nature; tress, shrubbery, bushes, flowers, - incredibly beautiful and so relaxing. An environment to certainly boost anyone’s creative spirit. All meals were taken out on the deck (see photo), and luck would have it that Melbourne blessed us with incredible weather that weekend (rare, considering the season). All in all, it was a perfect weekend and fabulous to catch up with so many familiar faces again.
In terms of what was created, without giving away ‘trade secrets’, the purpose of the workshop was to create backgrounds and incorporate images; stamped or adhered etc. Various colours of acrylic paints were used (colours the average person would never contemplate mixing together), but which turned out pretty well with amazing results. Below is one of my pieces, showing a beginning stage, and the end result. Bearing in mind, that there were probably about 15 different layers of various colours of paint and mediums applied, hard to believer looking at the final result, when all you see is red, which surprisingly is not a particularly favourite colour of mine.
To view several other pieces created by students during Joy’s workshop, click on the sites below:
Thank you again to Caro, Joy and Lucy for a fabulous weekend at Ancient Echoes, and to Claire Kelly and partner Luke Mosse for allowing me to invade their home for the weekend.