Drawn to the sea

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jessica Howard

HAV­ING lived and worked in New York and Paris, it is now Dodges Ferry which artist Pa­tri­cia Turn­erSmith has cho­sen as a per­ma­nent base.

While still trav­el­ling the world to paint, it is her stu­dio- res­i­dence over­look­ing Park Beach which she ul­ti­mately comes back to.

Orig­i­nally liv­ing up the road from the prop­erty now known as 1 on Park, Pa­tri­cia and her daugh­ter Eve used the space for many years as a full- time gallery and stu­dio, cre­at­ing a com­mu­nity hub for Dodges’ res­i­dents.

As a painter and mo­saic artist, Pa­tri­cia’s il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer spans decades.

She was one of the orig­i­nal Sala­manca stall­hold­ers and had one of the first gal­leries in Ho­bart in the 1960s, called the Art Bou­tique, which was opened by Barry Humphries.

Barry also picked up one of her pieces and a thank you let­ter sits in pride of place in her home.

Pa­tri­cia also lived along­side Brett White­ley in New York and sold her work at Wendy White­ley’s gallery.

How­ever, set­tling by the wa­ter in Tassie was a nat­u­ral move, Eve said.

“Mum and I are both in­spired by the sea,” she said.

“Our an­ces­tors lived over at Carl­ton River but we didn’t know that orig­i­nally, but were still drawn to this area by the sea.

“We were meant to be here I think. I’ve trav­elled a lot and even though it’s cold in win­ter, there’s some­thing unique about this place.”

The mother- daugh­ter team worked on ren­o­vat­ing the 1970s gem about two years ago to cre­ate the nau­ti­cal- in­spired artis­tic haven which now in­cor­po­rates gallery space for the two and a loft bed­room space over­look­ing the beach for Pa­tri­cia.

“Up­stairs is very peace­ful and be­cause I travel a lot now, it’s nice to come back to,” Pa­tri­cia said.

“There’s al­ways some­thing to look at. I get up about 7am and there are al­ways lots of surfers out there, so you never feel alone.”

Not afraid to get her hands dirty, Eve pulled up her sleeves and got stuck into the ren­o­va­tion.

“It was very drab look­ing, noth­ing had been touched since the ’ 70s,” she said.

“I ren­dered it all in­side and out; it nearly killed me.

“It was in the mid­dle of win­ter and my hands were freez­ing to the point that they would seize up around the trowel.”

Now liv­ing in her mum’s for­mer home up the road, Eve has taught her­self to surf.

How­ever, it was on a kayak, rather than a surf­board, when she had a close en­counter with a crea­ture of the deep.

“About eight years ago I was on my kayak and there was a mas­sive pod of whales,” she re­called.

“I was keep­ing my dis­tance and wasn’t go­ing to go near them. I was sit­ting off the head­land and looked down into the glassy wa­ter and this huge whale was com­ing up un­derneath me. I just froze. It lifted me up out of the wa­ter on its head and I was pan­ick­ing try­ing to reach the wa­ter with my pad­dle but I couldn’t. It was absolutely in­sane. Then it put me down so gen­tly back into the wa­ter.”

A large mo­saic sur­round­ing the wood heater in the liv­ing room was the first thing Pa­tri­cia added in the ren­o­va­tion and other mo­saics can be found scat­tered through­out the prop­erty.

Sec­tions of the wall have been cut away like large port holes in a ship and shells from the beach adorn a sup­port col­umn in the liv­ing room.

The 1970s kitchen re­mains in all its retro glory.

Paint­ings by Pa­tri­cia and tex­tiles by Eve fill ev­ery cor­ner and wall space through­out the gallery and the liv­ing spa­ces, with their wa­ter themes refl ect­ing back against their ul­ti­mate source of in­spi­ra­tion – Park Beach.

Read Pa­tri­cia and Eve’s blog at http://1on­parkart­gallery.blogspot.com.au

TRAN­QUIL: Above, Eve Smith and her mother Pa­tri­cia Turn­erSmith at 1 Park Beach Rd; top, a wall- mounted pot plant; above right, the view to the ocean. Pic­tures: ROGER LOVELL

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