Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lovely Workshop

 As I sip and crunch tea and toast in the comfort of my own home on this fresh almost-spring morning and reflect on this past weekend, I have a renewed sense of appreciation to capture our daily days.

I have just had the most amazing opportunity to learn from long-admired experts in the creative arenas of writing, photography and art… all from the pages of Australian Country Style Magazine.

It was wonderful to “escape the everyday”.

The practical workshops were organised by Sophie Hansen of ‘Local Is Lovely’ fame and hosted by her mum Annie Herron  at the beautiful property, ‘Kimbri’ west of the Blue Mountains.

The venue itself was inspirational.

The weather was perfect.

Vignettes were tucked in and around every corner just begging to be captured on film for cameras itching to be busy clicking.

Many of us came a long way for this special weekend – Hobart, Melbourne, regional Victoria, Moree, Sydney and south east Queensland. 
Two husbands drove 11 hours - mine and another from a place actually called Nowhere Creek! 

It was absolutely worth it.

Mingling with 15 delightful participants was so stimulating as creative energy and ideas bounced off the corrugated iron walls of the rustic shearing shed studio where we gathered.

The picturesque setting is usually host to Annie’s art workshops where keen students come and stay to paint and sketch. This time, photographers were there to focus on improving their skills - or for me – to learn from scratch how to use the complicated manual machine with its blur of  ISO, Aperture and shutter speed numbers.

Most others knew their camera and how to use it well, while I had no idea how to get the best out of mine (actually my daughter’s camera). An SLR – not a little automatic point and shoot. I want to step up a notch, but I felt quite humble being in a room with others who knew so much and were there to “upskill”. Some were published authors! I had to pinch myself that I was even in their midst.

Luisa Brimble’s energy and attention to detail made it achievable as she vivaciously shared her experience and knowledge with such patience for two whole days.

Victoria Carey was so personable with her gracious humility for someone “up there” in the magazine world. She gave us an insight into the think tank of our own absolute favourite as she shared 25 years’ experience of writing and editing.
It was fascinating to hear each other’s stories after we interviewed one another during Victoria’s activity. Many potential leads for future magazine articles!

Megan Trousdale was lovely company as she spent the weekend mingling and sharing advice and wisdom about writing and living in Nundle.

Megan directed us to start writing what could be a prospective blog piece. It was such fun to listen to different observations that showed unique perspectives from the weekend, each receiving positive feedback and encouragement.

Annie showed us how to truly see what we look at through art eyes.
As she described the importance of the rule of thirds and the placement of odd numbered objects, she have us a collage activity that initially balked some of us, but opened our lenses to really notice shapes and shadows as art form in a new light.
It was beautiful to observe each other’s interpretation with a brief dabble in watercolour. The vibrancy or subtlety of different projects in painting a piece of fruit.

Styling food and setting up still life scenes on par with famous renaissance painting subjects.
The light streaming through the rustic windows with all the interesting old props was perfect to set the tone and atmosphere.

My favourite was the combination of Megan’s denim shirt with the blue enamel teapot filled with steaming freshly brewed chai tea, her trademark tea chest in the background beside a pitcher filled with lemony yellow wattle blossoms.

It was wonderful to “escape the everyday” and step into the magazine world for such a special time with such delightful people.

It has bought me home with fresh eyes to truly see the beauty in our life here and capture it on paper with renewed vision.

To embrace the everyday with my family here in our special place.

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