For some time I have wanted to see more of Luke Sciberras’ work. I really started to get interested when I saw one of his iconic Australian landscapes reproduced in the Sydney Morning Herald a couple of Australia Days ago. I really like the freshness of his approach to landscape and the soaring colours. The images  look like Australia to me – rural and bush Australia, particularly, and there seems to be a story in his paintings and I just got the feeling of a sense of humour in there as well – the Australian larrikin. Of course this was all guesswork and reading, so I really wanted to attend even though it meant driving a round trip of over 1600kms – but I love driving through the country, either as a passenger or by myself – I love the variety and the vastness of it. Hill End as the setting was a bonus – I had heard about this iconic village, first a goldrush town and later an artists’ retreat ever since I arrived in Australia as an eleven year old. I booked the workshop as a birthday present to myself!

Picket fences, stone church, geese, green, green grass.
Luke’s work
Luke with some of his work
Ink on paper – be gutsy!

Luke’s studio,is  a fabulous old stone church filled with fascinating objects; animal skulls, art books, flowers, paintings waiting to be shipped to China, art works by many other artists, paint, paper, easels, characterful old chairs, a large bed……it was a treasure trove! Luke was enormously generous with his paper, paints, books and answering our questions. He showed us how he worked and spoke about how he makes marks – totally committed. We were then challenged to have a go ourselves.

After the studio demonstration it was  off to a spot on the edge of the village where we each found a place to work and put paint to paper, with Luke encouraging and challenging us to get out of our comfort zones.

Autumn trees, Hill End
The first mornings work

We worked on paper with acrylic, ink and gouache – lots of water and making marks with enthusiasm and I was told to ‘go right over the edge of the paper – NO framing!’

Plein air work
At Luke’s Cottage

By the end of the day I was pretty tired – I had at least six very rough works to use as inspiration for the next day’s work at producing some resolved work in the studio.

Luke kept us well fed though – a magnificent lunch of Thai chicken curry or marinated chicken if you didn’t like spicy food. In the evening we were invited to Luke’s wonderful stone cottage where he cooked a magnificent paella – he did all the cooking (three hearty meals) and is an accomplished chef – a bonus I was not expecting

Paella Feast
Misty Morning, Hill End

The camraderie was a bonus and so was the result. At left and below are two of my images achieved by the end of the workshop.

If any artists read this and are thinking of attending – go for it, I loved the experience and the knowledge gained and would happily attend again!

Hill End Colours

Here is a link to the website where I found the workshop:

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