Win­ning arts and minds

Dive into spe­cial arts edi­tion as we tap our re­gion’s cre­ative veins

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - El­iza Goetze El­iza.Goetze@news-mail.com.au

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.

PHOTO: EL­IZA GOETZE

CRE­ATIVE: Alice McLaugh­lin and Beth New­ton at Alice's Ap­ple Tree Creek home.

PHO­TOS: EL­IZA GOETZE

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.

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