Tales from the other side of the world!
As some of you may be aware, I work with a company based here in the north east of England called Natural Partners Art, who produce high quality prints and greeting cards of my paintings, as well as many other artists and designers. This has proved to be a very good move for me, because their distribution is very widespread, and I've noticed that enquiries and general interest in my work has really ballooned since they began printing my art, and we recently had the boost of a very sizeable order from the National Trust, which was very exciting! Another of our valuable buyers is a card distributor based in Melbourne by the name of Eastend Stationery, and it appears my work is surprisingly popular over there given the geography and content and all, but there you go, I suppose you can't predict these things. Anyway, I was extremely privileged to be invited over to their good country to promote the range with a series of slide presentations and talks at a selection of their outlets right up the east coast and so I found myself beginning April in the hot and sunny climes of Brisbane and Byron Bay!
I arrived on the day of my birthday incidentally, and so I headed straight for the beach to celebrate. Byron Bay is a little coastal haven which, in the 70's became a sort of artist's colony attracting radicals, free thinkers, hippies, surfers and all manner of creative minds, and has continued in that vein since, resulting in the kind of place you would only imagine was possible in a movie - the laid back atmosphere and buzz of artistic activity is quite special. I headed up to the famous Byron lighthouse to catch the view from the most easterly point in Australia (or the world, effectively!) managed to witness a breathtaking sunset, and even met a new friend to share my birthday cake with!
So onward to Brisbane to liaise with the Ogden family who run Eastend Stationery and headed southward to deliver the presentations in the midst of a whistle stop tour of the east coast taking in Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
The talks were a success, with the audiences enthusiastically engaged, and they seemed to enjoy hearing about the story of my development as an artist and what has influenced me in my life and work. Some of the feedback I received indicated that a series of paintings based on the local flora and fauna, which was, I can promise you, abundant and diverse, and at times downright bizarre, would be popular, so I took the advice and went out with my camera to capture the life of this strange new world.
These are just a few, I got some real crackers, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into them in the studio, and hopefully they will provide some very interesting material for me to work with.
Otherwise, I did all the tourist business, saw the war memorial in Canberra, took a boat ride across Sydney Harbour, and swam in the clear green waters of Australia's east coast.
It all happened so quickly, (I was only there for two weeks) it seems like I'm still processing the experience, but I must say I loved every minute. The people of Australia are a unique, direct and friendly lot, to quote Johnny Depp! But seriously, it is a wonderful country. They are keen for me to go back when I've completed the Australian works, and do a little more promotional work. I think I might just oblige.
So now, all that remains is to leave you with this image of infinite cuteness that is, Maggie the rescued wombat. Have a nice day :)