There are a variety of ways in which we try to promote the work of CWA of NSW; from facebook and blogging; media releases, interviews and articles to multi-tasking (aka ear-bashing as we accept your payment) whilst wearing a CWA logoed shirt or apron at a clearing sale, market day or show kiosk. Members participate in all manner of activities to raise money for and awareness of, the plethora of projects that assist our communities across NSW.
My tale this week is about another medium for promotion……..well that was the basis of the argument to convince me to accept the offer!
Towards the end of last year I was invited by Hunter Valley Artist Christine Pike, to sit for a portrait that she then wanted to enter in the 2014 Archibald Prize. My initial response was “You’re having me on”! But no, she assured me she was very serious. It took several weeks and considerable coaxing from Christine for me to agree and as we are almost to the judging stage I thought I should “fess up”!
I would be beside myself with excitement for Christine if she should be chosen as a finalist, although with one report suggesting over 2200 entries in the Archibald, Sulman and Wynne Prizes and the high profiles of some of the other subjects, methinks our chances slim! As the saying goes though, “you have to be in it to win it”.
I have known Christine, a member of Gresford Branch of CWA, for some years now as mother of Rachael, a family friend, neighbour and member of my own Rowena CWA branch. We have caught up on various important family occasions as well as some of her frequent visits to remind her granddaughters, Ivy and Jean, that they have a Nonny.
Our time spent together over the various “sittings” not only enriched my life, but provides a story in itself and will prove a testament to Christine’s talent, patience and perseverance under what could best be described as “trying circumstances”. It includes heat, dust, six million flies, and a wind that made it almost impossible for Christine to keep her sketch pad and board on the easel, let alone craft a masterpiece with me flapping my arms like a lunatic trying to keep my share of the six million from taking up residence in my eyes, ears or nose and both of us not game to talk for fear of swallowing one!
Eventually satisfied with the basic outline and background and with tempers (amazingly) still intact, we adjourned to the Rowena Village Inn for much needed refreshment and some respite from both the elements and the great Aussie wave. We eventually settled again into artist/subject mode, quietly chatting with the Inn’s owner, the effervescent Cindy, as she peered over Christine’s shoulder and me trying to avoid the curious gaze of a couple of locals enjoying their after work beverage.
Mother Nature had obviously decided we were starting to revive just that bit too much from the great outdoor essentials she had provided us with earlier in the day and shortly thereafter sent a black snake to visit because, after all, it was much cooler in Cindy’s back yard!
Suffice it to say our next sitting, in rustic surrounds, was indoors, well off the ground, in the shearer’s quarters at Ben and Rachael’s!