Esperance,Western Australia

Esperance.

With Karen McClurkin, manager of The Cannery Arts Centre

Esperance 4

A botanical Journal workshop, held at The Cannery

Esperance 2

Offshoots in the wonderful Cannery Arts Centre space

Esperance 3

Meet the artist and floor Talk

Esperance 5

Pottery studio and artist’s residence, at the back of The Cannery Arts Centre

Three flights and a short drive on 20 April put me outside the local fish ‘n’ chip shop in Esperance WA,all up a 12 hour journey.  The Cannery Art Centre in Esperance is hosting Offshoots until early May and I had arrived to facilitate a Botanical Journal Workshop and floor talk over three evenings.  A fortuitous time schedule which left me with daylight hours to explore the pristine and close by National Park, Cape le Grande, and sketch some of the local flora.

The Cannery sits opposite one of the beautiful beaches of the area and close to a long jetty and understated foreshore development complete with the ‘Coffee Cat’ barrow, its friendly staff and excellent coffee and muffins.  Karen McClurkin, Manager of the Cannery and an artist in her own right, does a fantastic job with clever foresight and limited funds, assisted of course by loyal volunteers and community members.

Offshoots looked fantastic in the one huge space, filling the walls with everything hung, bar the 3m high pandanus on paper, which are yet to make the hang anywhere apart from Cairns!

Tuesday evenings’ workshop was spent indoors with a huge selection of local seedpods, grasses, eucalypts, succulents and flowers but Wednesday’s subject matter  was taken care of by (another) Karen who arrived with armfuls of the  Pincushion Hakea, Hakea laurina.  An instant hit with everyone, including me!

Thursday’s Meet the Artist evening was a lovely opportunity for me to speak about the project and to say au revoir to the Cannery Arts Centre and some of the people who make it tick.  Next week Offshoots Touring Exhibition leaves Esperance to begin the Northern NSW and Queensland leg of the tour.

Bairnsdale

ffshoots is currently at the popular and appealing East Gippsland Art Gallery. I say popular because before the exhibition was even on the walls, a text message was relayed to me from a friend of a friend who happened to be there when my paintings were being hung!   Also, EGAG  has a very enthusiastic membership and associated arts community who made the most of the Public Programs opportunities.

 Museum and Gallery Services Queensland chose the delightful Riversleigh for my accommodation.  Very central, it sits opposite the Gallery alongside the Mitchell River and is a couple of minutes walk from the workshop venue.  Riversleigh’s Friday evening tapas in the garden was the perfect end to a travel day; Bairnsdale is an enjoyable four-hour train ride through country Victoria. 

 Saturday’s Mixed Media Workshop, held in the spectacular TAFE art room, was full with fifteen talented participants, all of whom brought something different to work with and enjoyed trying some new techniques.  The day flew by in a sort of ordered chaos amid paints, glues, tissue paper, wool, found objects etc and ended with fifteen interesting works.

 I had offered a floor talk for Sunday morning so the EGAG volunteers hosted a special opening, complete with morning tea.  This was also my opportunity to see the exhibition in situ and I found it hung exceptionally well, filling the small gallery nicely.   With a captive audience for the floor talk, of around thirty five people, I proceeded to talk.  And talk.  And talk.  What’s more interesting is that everyone listened, attentively – for one and a half hours!  

 Thank you Bairnsdale for your enthusiastic interest in my work and in the partnership between myself, Cairns Botanic Gardens and Tanks Arts Centre.

 Partially funded through Local and State Government, East Gippsland Gallery relies on funds raised by Friends of EGAG and the Gallery Shop for it’s operational costs.

Bairnsdale

East Gippsland Art Gallery.

    

 

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Bairnsdale 3

Mixed media workshop.

Bairnsdale 4

Exhibition opening.

Bairnsdale 5

Offshoots at East Gippsland Art Gallery.

Bairnsdale 6.

A unique space.

Bairnsdale 7. Information at     

 http://eastgippslandartgallery.org.au/friends-of-egag

http://eastgippslandartgallery.org.au/shop

Mt Tomah

Mt Tomah.

Part of the landscape at Blue Mountains Botanical Garden,Mt Tomah.

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, at Mt Tomah, is the cool weather garden of the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, 1000m above sea level and just over 100km from the Sydney Gardens. The spacious and light filled Exhibition Centre is perfectly situated with a spectacular view over the Blue Mountains all the way to the city of Sydney.  A magnificent backdrop to the exhibition.

The week before I arrived it had snowed at Mt Tomah  and there was still quite a chill in the air but in my short stay I saw the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. The rangers had left a much appreciated stack of firewood for me at the Residence so I could keep the fire going all night.  Left to my own devices,in the evening I wandered the Gardens magnificent collection; the ancient conifers, the bog garden, the daffodil lawn and an interesting and well interpreted Plant Explorers Garden.  Stunning King Parrots and cheeky blue wrens were prolific.

Saturday’s Mixed Media Workshop went ahead with participants bringing along an eclectic mix of media including some fantastic hand dyed paper.  A cold grey day outside but we didn’t really notice, so industrious were we that I neglected to photograph the workshop!

For visitors, the exhibition area was a popular space to congregate so, before heading off,  I was able to speak about the works to a number of interested viewers.  The Performance of Hannibal & Spud being quite popular with the Sunday visitors!

Mt Tomah 3.

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Entrance

Mt Tomah 2.

Beautiful Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt Tomah.

Mt Tomah 5.

Mt Tomah exhibition.

Mt Tomah 6.

Mt Tomah exhibition.Julie McEnerny

Mt Tomah 4.

One of the ancient conifers at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt Tomah.

http://www.bluemountainsbotanicgarden.com.au/

Mt Tomah 7.

The magnificent Blue Mountains Botanical Garden.

Australian National Botanic Gardens

 

 

A highlight and privilege for me was to have the Australian National Botanic Gardens, in Canberra, host my exhibition.  The ANBG cares for the national collection of Australian native plants and has strong links with the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research and the Australian National Herbarium.

For my visit, the temperature was 40˚C cooler than my last venue but Canberra’s  clear skies and still days made the cold almost enjoyable!  Especially each morning when I walked from my accommodation at University House to the Gardens,  the fabulous combination of Autumn leaves and blue sky overhead.  It was great to see the works again, in another venue and hung differently, this time with some featured on a bright terracotta wall.

An interesting bunch from Friends of the Gardens filled the auditorium on Thursday, for my slide show of the Cairns Botanic Gardens and the Offshoots artworks, some with in-depth knowledge of the Far North’s flora.  Those who could, joined me afterwards for a short floor talk at the exhibition.

The Native Plant Association invited me to speak that evening at their monthly meeting so most of that day and evening was spent at the Gardens, meeting and talking to a wide range of plant loving locals.  The following day an enthusiastic group  joined me for the Botanical Postcard Workshop.  The rangers had delivered an array of banksias and eucalypts to paint so I was in new territory and loving it!

Saturday’s schedule included a Botanical Journal Workshop which was loads of fun and concluded under the radiators at the Garden’s outdoor cafe.  Although drawing ceased upon arrival of hot chocolates and raspberry friands,  the good humour continued.

Canberra workshop

Julie at Australian National Botanic Gardens doing a workshop.

Somewhere there I squeezed in a guided walk through the Gardens, the guide anxious to show me the Rainforest and Central Desert gardens!  I snuck away early to get a good look at the less familiar Eucalypt Lawn.

Canberra

One of Julie’s workshops.

Thank you ANBG and Canberra friends.

Exhibition hung at the National Botanic Gardens

Exhibition hung at the Australian National Botanic Gardens

https://www.anbg.gov.au/gardens/

Beautiful surrounding gardens.

 

Julie giving a slide show talk on the Cairns Botanic Gardens and Offshoots Exhibition.

Julie giving a slide show talk on the Cairns Botanic Gardens and Offshoots Exhibition.

 

 

 

 

 

Visit to Olive Pink Botanic Gardens

David Warmington,Curator Botanic Reserves with artist Julie McEnerny at the opening.

David Warmington,Curator Botanic Reserves with artist Julie McEnerny at the opening.

Starting right in the Centre, Offshoots took the tropics to the desert in March 2014. Ben Covery, curator at Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, Alice Springs was the perfect host and spoke eloquently at the opening. Thirty or so locals enjoyed the evening with us in the airy rammed-earth exhibition space.

The following day’s program of a floor talk followed by the “Intrepid Flower Painters of the Tropics” presentation was trumped by the political rally, March in March, with the participants consequently cooling off ‘Alice style’. However, a handful of interested locals turned up to hear some amazing stories of women from 17th century through to the present, including North Queensland’s very own Vera Scarth Johnson.

Sunday was a different story, the painting workshop was full, despite another 40-something day. The local talent and plant knowledge was most impressive!
Beforehand I’d sampled some fresh dates at Todd Mall Markets and learnt about the amazing number of varieties and the growing of date palms in the area.

Olive Pink Botanic Gardens is a non-government, not for profit community organisation managed by a voluntary board of trustees who employ a curator to manage the Gardens. The curator is assisted by a band of wonderful volunteers. Visit http://opbg.com.au

 

Julie at Olive Pink Botanic Gardens Alice Springs.

 

Curator Olive Pink Botanic Gardens

Curator Olive Pink Botanic Gardens