It’s a little over a week since I arrived back in Australia and I’ve just begun to pick up the threads of my life again after a fabulous trip. For those of you who don’t follow me on social media (which you can do here Facebook and Instagram), I’ll give a little overview of my trip.
After having won the 2016 $50,000 A.M.E Bale Travelling Scholarship I’ve completed four months of travel and study in Europe. The aim of this scholarship is to enable fine artists to travel to Europe to expose themselves to the plethora of great art and architecture it holds.
Basing myself in Florence – which holds many great artworks itself – I travelled amongst other places to:
- Rome to visit The Vatican City and see the Sistine Chapel as well as the multitude of other great works exhibited there.
- Padua, Italy to see Giottos fresco cycle on the wall of the Scrovegni Chapel. Plus the city’s museum which houses a great number of superb paintings and sculpture.
- Venice where I managed to catch a comprehensive exhibition of William Merrit- Chase paintings. A painter I greatly admire.
- Milan to see Leonardo’s ‘Last Supper’…a painting I’ve studied in books since I was a child! And it’s better seeing it in the flesh too!
- Germany where I visited the Kathy Kollwitz museum. Anther artist I just love.
- Madrid, Spain to visit the Prado Museum which houses many great painters works. Joaquim Sorolla’s house in Madrid, now a museum dedicated to his life and works where I was very fortunate to be able to paint in his garden.
- Amsterdam to visit the Rjikes Museum and the Van Gogh museum – both of which I couldn’t get enough of and left exhausted but inspired and satisfied. The Rijkes Museum houses several major Rembrandt paintings including his famous ‘Nightwatch’ which I learnt has over 80 kilograms of paint on it. All hand ground mind you!
I visited great Cathedrals, painted windmills in Holland and turquoise beaches in Spain. I had a hired bike stolen, had my portrait painted (and received it as a surprise gift). Visited the town where I was born in the U.K., got a suntan in Spain, travelled by car, taxi, boat, bicycle, train and airplane. I made some new friends, ate the most delicious food and patted dogs all over Europe. Learnt new painting skills and extended my knowledge, walked miles and miles and miles. I gate crashed an Italian funeral, got a snapshot of the Queen, fell over on the roof of Milan Cathedral and ground pigments in Rembrandts studio. I wrote on the Berlin Wall (yes…I know..), toured the underground corridors of the Colosseum where the gladiators came out, slept on one or two not so comfortable beds and got the wrong train halfway across Germany. I got lost, wet, and wore out map after map in each city I visited…. I love old school paper maps! I chased down a tram in Germany, drank some very good coffee and met interesting people everywhere I went.
At this early stage it’s difficult to know how this trip has influenced and changed me…right now I feel that it has, and I know as time goes on the ways that it has will become clearer.
It really was the most amazing experience – the trip of a lifetime and I still feel very blessed to have had this opportunity. Reflecting recently, on Alice Bale…I feel quite sure that she would be very pleased with what I’ve done and fulfilled the requirements of her scholarship.
I’ve come back very inspired and while I painted quite a bit while travelling I’m really looking forwards to getting into my studio to work and back to some teaching. For those interested, I will be shortly sending out another email with information about my upcoming workshops and classes for those that have asked for the info.
Somewhere in the near future I will be giving some talks on my trip, what I’ve experienced and learned as well and look forwards to imparting that knowledge to my students.
I’ll keep you updated about the exhibition and future plans…which will mostly be low key for a while to come.
Oh… the studio dog was well looked after while away and was extremely happy to see me – as I him. I missed him a lot.