Winning arts and minds
Dive into special arts edition as we tap our region’s creative veins
IT WAS Einstein who said genius was 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.
Apple Tree Creek artistic treasure Alice McLaughlin goes by the same motto.
By her own admission, her artistic training decades ago was “a drag” – but it was worth it.
Today she is one local artist building a community of like-minded creative people, hosting a growing group of keen learners on her magical property every week.
YOU’D never know it was there, but just a few hundred metres from the busy Bruce Hwy is a paradise for the imagination.
Artist Alice McLaughlin has created an oasis on her Apple Tree Creek property that has become a haven for local artists.
Alive with colourful sculptures and quirky characters from the red centre to the deep blue sea, it is the product of a lifetime of hard work for McLaughlin.
Einstein wasn’t wrong with his “one per cent inspiration, 99% perspiration” mantra, she said.
“There’s no such thing as talent. You can never put too much practise in. It’s the ones who do who make it.
“When my three sons were tiny fellas, I took a course, the only one you could do by correspondence,” she recalled.
“It was in Western Australia.
“I worked like a Trojan at that – I’d put them to bed and work through the night to do it, while my husband Alec was often away shearing. “It was a drag,” she said. “It took me a couple of years to get through it but I did, and it gave me a lot of good groundwork.
“I had wonderful teachers and Alec supported me.”
Now she is passing on her own wisdom.
Every Thursday she hosts about 25 people of varying skill levels who gather to make and talk art.
“I really love the teaching thing,” McLaughlin said.
“Art is notoriously bad for getting wonderful students.
“You can have lots and you get one now and then – and that’s just great. I’ve had a few around here.”
Good artists also possess “a sensitivity about things... having an understanding, an affinity with what they’re trying to make”.
Alice is inspired by the red centre, a place she has visited many times, and the red earth is a prominent feature in her landscapes.
“Growing up in the country, mum would show me the trees, and dad would show me what the birds were; I think that gave me a good grounding,” she said.
“I love light, and in central Australia there’s no greater light than out there.”
A sculpture of Standley Chasm stands in her shed and catches the sun through the windows, throwing shadows like the real thing.
A selection of Alice McLaughlin’s work is on display at the Woodgate Community Hall as part of Arts in Spring, as well as the Collective store on Churchill St, Childers.
There’s no such thing as talent. You can never put too much practise in.
CREATIVE: Alice McLaughlin and Beth Newton at Alice's Apple Tree Creek home.
HIDEAWAY: Alice McLaughlin and Collective store owner Beth Newton at Alice’s Apple Tree Creek home.
One of Alice’s trademark mermaid sculptures.
Alice with the toucan she originally made for a pizza shop.