Swapping a painting for the rent on your studio. How I wish I was Zoe Young’s landlord. This talented artist’s work captured my attention as soon as I saw it,
so she was a natural choice to be included in our annual Art Issue. I also loved her take on the barter economy! I’ve always thought you have to be particularly brave to be an artist, so I really admire the people who have the courage to do it. It’s very often an all-consuming thing — Zoe’s husband Reg calls her in the afternoon to make sure she hasn’t lost track of the time, something I can understand and I remember rushing to pick kids up from school after becoming completely immersed in writing a story. But art is not just about the ‘work’, it’s a way of life. This is why I asked Sophie Hansen to write about her mother, artist Annie Herron, and the beautiful home she created on page 44. I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon at Kimbri Farm, which is just over the NSW Blue Mountains — about two-and-a-half hours’ drive west of Sydney — and there truly is art at every turn. From the agapanthus sculpture in a garden bed to the vibrant wooden doors of the shed (I call that colour scheme art!), it is a very inspiring place where Annie has held residential art classes for the last 20 years. “Anyone can learn to paint and draw,” is Annie’s mantra. “If you can write your name you can do a drawing. How far you take it is up to you. Art is like anything — like golf or tennis, it’s a skill you can learn, but you have to be dedicated and practice to get good.” Annie’s words are encouraging — perhaps there’s hope for me yet. If I can make the time (and summon the courage) you may just find me behind an easel one day.