Sunday, November 4, 2012

Open Spaces Retreat for Picture Book Creators

Whenever I meet a new group of picture book creators, it always strikes me how much talent we have in Australia.

A recent four-day retreat at Sydney’s Hughenden Boutique Hotel, set up by Laurine Croasdale and the ASA, brought me in contact with old friends and new; a group mainly comprising of artists and illustrators, a smaller number of illustrator/writers and those, like me, who are writers (but love to play with art materials!!)

We collaborated and discussed our work, projects, shared ideas in technology, pored over stunning books which Ann James from Books Illustrated had brought along, played with a variety of art materials offered by Micador and enjoyed a book launch. 

Highlights included a talk by Tohby Riddle about his new, amazing book, Unforgotten; a visit to Brett Whitely’s studio: a workshop with Bruce Whatley on Creating with the Non-Dominant hand; a stroll along the coastline from Bronte to Bondi, enjoying the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition, a picnic at Kiribilli in a beautiful garden/park created by Wendy Whitely, Brett Whitely’s ex-wife. While there, we shared creativity exercises.

We also visited the Dr Seuss Gallery and were also fortunate that, on two occasions, artist/illustrator Lisa Stewart played the violin for us.

Now I need a retreat to think about everything we experienced!

Ann James showing background of a mud picture for our forthcoming picture book, I'm a Dirty Dinosaur, due out April, 2013

Me, enjoying the coastal walk and sculptures. A silvery day.
Bruce Whatley posing for the group.
My attempt with my dominant hand.

My second attempt with non-dominant hand. (much freer and livelier, I think!)

'The nook' - one of the lovely rooms in the hotel.
Me, outside Brett Whitely's studio.
Absorbed in playing with art materials
One of my favourite sculptures in the Sculpture by the Sea Exhibition.
Called The Arrival.

Liz directing a creativity exercise in the park overlooking the harbour.
Ann James and Laurine Croasdale listening to violin playing.