Yesterday, nine years ago I landed in Brisbane to start a new adventure in Australia. The years have been eventful. When I arrived after packing up all my possessions to be shipped in a container halfway across the world, my daughter and her family were packing up their rental house in preparation for the move into their newly built home. So it was back to bubble wrap and boxes. We moved a few days before Christmas.
The rain started shortly after my arrival and didn’t stop, culminating in the floods in January 2011. Friends said I brought the rain. In any case, Brisbane was flooded and this brought much hardship to many residents. Luckily, we were safe from flooding and were able to help out less fortunate friends.
My planning for my new life in Brisbane included exploring a number of activities - visiting the art galleries; discovering the art supply stores; planning to meet up with Brisbane art groups; and exploring the scenic areas around the city.
I did manage one short visit to GOMA but by the new year the galleries were completely flooded, and precious artworks were moved to higher storage. Both GOMA and the Queensland Art Gallery remained closed for some months. The city was in survival mode.
All this upheaval forced me to change my plans and simply be patient. Fortunately, I was staying with my daughter and her family and I could take my time to get to know the city.
I remained there for six months then moved into my own home in July, 2011. That same week I started art classes, having converted my garage into a very workable studio.
The Studio is on the small size but it serves the purpose. Extra lighting and an essential air conditioner make the space comfortable. I would like a larger area to allow more room for each artist. However, the size restriction ensures that the classes remain small and intimate. A maximum of six allows each person to follow their own projects and to work in a number of different mediums. If there were to be a dozen or more then the classes would of necessity have to be more structured and formal, giving less scope for individual experimentation.
I have been fortunate that teaching has afforded me economic independance as well as providing me the opportunity to make wonderful friends.
This lovely email came from an artist...
Good morning Carol, Just wanted to pop you an email to tell you about my experiences at your studio.
When I started art classes at your Studio 5 years ago I hoped that your classes would re-ignite my interest in painting. I had dabbled with painting in high school and a few classes when my children were young but had not pursued it any further than that. I have learnt so much from you….. I love that each student in your class is encouraged to pursue their own ‘style’.
I love that we, as a group, encourage and learn from each other. I enjoy the little talks or mini lectures you give on a different style or artist and how your classes are not just about the actual painting but also about the ‘love of art’. So good for the soul.
When I started 5 years ago I had hoped to achieve certain things. I have done this and more. I thank you for sharing your knowledge with me ....
Another wrote this in an email to me after her painting was accepted for the Rotary Art Spectacular Exhibition:
I’m so excited just to have my art accepted. Your mentorship over the years has been invaluable Thanks Carol and looking forward to my projects for next term."
And one more recent email:
I would like to also thank you for making the art classes so interesting and giving us, especially me, the confidence to have a go. I feel like I am finally getting into the hang of this painting thing and actually liking what I am doing.
I did of bit more work on the sand grasses and actually forwarded a copy to family and friends, instead of just hiding it away. Big step for me.