Julie Goldspink is a local artist and tutor with a wealth of experience. After her recent win at the Hastings Valley Fine Art Association’s biggest competition, she speaks to Kim Gould about her involvement with the association and her endless passion for art and the beautiful natural landscapes that surround her.
> How did you first get into art?
Art has always been a passion of mine from an early age. I started when I was about 9, and I followed my passion right through school. I wanted to go to university to get my qualifications and join Reader’s Digest.
It was such a big thing at the time to be an illustrator for Reader’s Digest, and I had that plan in mind. Unfortunately money stopped that happening in those early days, so that was put on the back burner.
But I always kept painting and going to TAFE and doing a variety of art courses.
> Where does the inspiration for your work come from?
It mainly comes from nature and just getting out in the local environment. I have been lucky enough to live along the coastal areas most of my life, and I think maybe that’s what has inspired me. It was just a beautiful place to grow up, and with the ocean and the hinterland so close there was so much diversity to tap into.
I also had a stint down in the Riverina area. That was a totally different landscape, with the Snowy Mountains so close. I loved that diversity and made the most of that while I was there.
So you could definitely say that it is nature and the landscape that inspires me.
> Do you have any artistic idols and inspirations?
I love Hans Heysen. We went to the Flinders recently and made sure we visited his home and gallery. It was just terrific. I also love Streeton’s work, Elliott Gruena, J.J. Hilder, Tom Roberts and many more.
> What mediums do you use for your artworks?
I use all mediums, really. When you are learning you mainly study oil painting, then eventually you go off into textiles and things like that. Obviously once you’ve finished that you can experiment with all the other mediums. So I started off doing that and now I dabble and work in most mediums, but I really specialise in watercolour.
> What is so special about watercolour?
It is so unpredictable and it has a real translucent effect. It’s just beautiful. Watercolour is so unexpected; you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a very hard thing to control, and I love that challenge.
I’ve gone into a lot of florals and still life since I’ve been doing watercolour, because it just has a delicacy about it that lends itself to painting flowers.
> You were recently a part of the Hastings Valley Fine Art Association’s Summer Showcase. Tell us about this competition.
It has been running for the last 4 years and is the main competition for the association every year. We hold 4 events each year, but the Summer Showcase is the big one where we award prizes and trophies to encourage our members. The competition covers a variety of sections and mediums and has been very successful over the years.
It is for members only, but we’ve recently tried to introduce the schools, with an outside competition to encourage them to pursue their creative talents.
> How do people become members of the HVFAA?
They can contact the HVFAA directly. We now have a new website that was launched at the last competition. It is www.hastingsart.net and we’ve got everything up on there. Anyone can log on and download a membership form.
It’s only around $37 a year and you get a badge and a monthly letter telling you about everything we have happening. The website also outlines the tutorials that we have coming up. It’s the most active art society in the Hastings area.
> Your painting was declared the overall winner on the night. What makes it special?
It was titled Heysen Country, because we were just so inspired when we went out and did the trip at the Flinders. The gum trees out there are truly magnificent.
I think that’s half the appeal, and I think that’s why a lot of people will venture out there. The contrast is amazing too, with the blue sky and the red dirt. I think after being out there and seeing the landscape, you really feel it.
That’s why we go out painting a lot. We painted while we were out there, but we also took a myriad of photos and brought them back to paint. You can just remember being there, so I chose a really lovely composition of the beautiful gumtrees in a dry river bed.
It was late afternoon where you get the lovely, long, deep shadows, and it was just so lovely. We had lots of photos, so it was hard to pick something that stood out. The certain one that I chose, I could remember being there, and so I painted that when I got back home.
I actually painted it in a day, just a couple of days before the exhibition, because I was racing for time. You can do that more if you’ve been there to see the subject you’re looking at; you really feel it and know it well. That helps you to get stuck into it, because you’re excited about it.
> How does it feel to be recognised at such a big competition locally?
Oh, it’s just wonderful, and it inspires you to keep going. It gives you that extra enthusiasm to keep pursuing the love that you have of painting. It’s a great thrill to win anything, because it’s a big competition and there are lots of wonderful works there.
Each year we have the visitors come, lots from Sydney and all over the place, and they say it’s bigger and better than they’d ever imagined. A lot of the regulars who come for holidays said it was even better than last year, so that really makes you feel good.
> Are you working on any pieces at the moment?
I will be. I’ve got four more works to whip up for an exhibition with the Hastings Art Trail. I will be concentrating on some more local scenes for that.
> You teach classes locally. Tell us about the programs you have available.
I’m taking a year off from my own private classes, but I’m still taking workshops at Spotlight. The next ones will run on the 25th and 26th of February, and that’s going to be watercolour technique with acrylic paint. It will be just a little bit of a different technique. You still get that lovely, loose effect.
In fact, I did try it out on my students before we broke up for the year, and they loved having a bash at it. So people should get something from that class.
Then I was hoping to do a week long workshop in the first half of the year and a 5 day one in the second half of the year from my own gallery and classroom, because I like doing it here. Other than that I teach in Sydney and do workshops in Newcastle and wherever I’m invited to.
> Where can people view and purchase your work?
They can view the works at my private gallery, North Harbour Gallery and Picture Framing. It’s located at 54 The Anchorage, Port Macquarie, and is open Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. There are a lot of works in there – framed, unframed, cards and some lovely glasswear as well. I also exhibit out at the Hunter Valley and at Timbertown. Other than that, people can follow the Hastings Art Trail.
We’re trying to get the Art Trail off the ground at the moment, and we’ve increased the artists in the group. People can pick up a brochure on the Hastings Art Trail from the Tourist Information Centre in The Glasshouse. It’s got the websites and all the info there that they can tap into.
The Trail is a nice thing for people to do. Grab a brochure and have a little trip around viewing local artworks.
> Thank you Julie.