Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pencils, paper make ideal way to record bayside beauty

THE tempo of the heartbeat may have increased with tantalising anticipation the other day when the word "plein" appeared in a classified notice. The discovery of a spelling mistake is always a memorable moment for the dedicated readers who, with red pen poised, comb through the fine print of newspapers, ready for a gleeful cry of "Darling, I've found another one" and then some grumbles and mumbles. But there was no mistake in the Training and Tuition notice promoting Vicki Whalan's drawing classes.
THE term "plein air" derives from the French language, and just to ensure that everyone understood Vicki published the translation "open air" in brackets. The cultural touch honours not only centuries of artistic practice but also Redland City's beautiful bayside environment. Vicki was seeking students for plein air drawing classes she will hold in the Oyster Point park every Thursday from 9.30am. "It was the first time I have advertised and I already have seven students, so I am very happy with the result," Vicki said yesterday. "The scenery around the bay is just so stunning it makes the perfect setting." The bay, in fact, was the drawcard for Vicki and husband Peter to move from Lighthouse Beach on the NSW mid-north coast to Oyster Point just under two years ago. They had visited Queensland while their son Kurt and daughter Megan studied at university and Vicki fell in love with "beautiful Moreton Bay" after they came to Cleveland for an Anzac service.
VICKI has studied not only fine arts but also training and assessment. She describes her work as figurative, representational and observational, and admires the work of the masters and some more modern practitioners such as Clarice Beckett, a Victorian hailed by the National Gallery for her "lyrical and evocative landscapes". A drawing by Vicki won the 2012 Redfest art prize and her drawings and watercolour and acrylic paintings will feature in a joint exhibition with the works of Mike Scott and Robyn Dunn in the Old Schoolhouse Gallery, opening on Friday, March 8. She says the exhibition includes her figurative studies of the human form, with some "cropping" providing close-up images.
ALTHOUGH the smell of paint and the gentle, almost inaudible sound of pencil on paper seem a long way from the taps and clicks of the computer keyboard of much modern art, Vicki says the two worlds do come together. She also uses Photoshop to see some subjects in a different light during her research. But she's happiest in the plein air and thanks Redland City Council's Michelle Wilson for assistance with her application to use the Oyster Point park.

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