Peninsula’s colours, vibrancy inspire artist

Off to a new home: Claire Spring and her painting Yachting – Tranquillity on the Bay before it was handed over to its new owner. Picture: Yanni

RYE artist Claire Spring capped off a successful week’s exhibiting at the Rotary Club of Sorrento’s 35th art show last week by selling her “most spectacular painting”: Yachting – Tranquillity on the Bay.

She was one of several Mornington Peninsula artists to reap the rewards of exhibiting at what she described as the biggest and most important art show on the peninsula. 

Other locals to achieve success in the long-running show, held at the Sorrento Community Centre in the first week of January, were John Bredl, who won Best Oil, Joanne Seberry (Best Pastel) and Belinda Nye (Best Painting Under $700).

Spring said she gained inspiration for her colourful work from looking at a photograph of a yacht race with a “spectacular yacht formation and the charisma of the stunning depth of sea blues”.

She said she loves painting seascapes and has had many commissions from the owners of the iconic Sorrento Couta boats. She also paints fruits, such as the pomegranate, and flora like agapanthus, which is part of a series she is working on for an exhibition later this year. 

“I love the environment at Rye with all its beauty and colour,” she said. “I love to create an exotic and sometimes erotic atmosphere with textural effects on linen.”

Spring, who teaches painting to adults, and to children at school holiday workshops, was thrilled when two of her students also featured their works at the Rotary Art Show.

Last year she displayed a large indigenous oil painting of moonah trees at sunset which received the Highly Commended Award. She later sold it to a peninsula resident.

Art show coordinator George Segan said artists from around Victoria contributed 700 works to the annual show in a variety of mediums. About a third are later sold.

He said Rotary makes about $20,000 from the week-long event which is a mainstay of the area’s holiday attractions. “It’s not just an art show but a community event,” he said. “It is something to take mum and the kids to. It is a wonderful event for all the people to see.” 

Mr Segan said organisers did not vet the artworks submitted prior to accepting them for display. “We allow people to have a go,” he said. “If someone is game enough to give us their art then we are game enough to hang it.”

Money raised from artists’ fees and ticket sales goes to a range of charities and causes, including the State Emergency Service, Peninsula Ambulance, Food For All, peninsula primary schools, Peninsula Health, school scholarships, Riding for the Disabled, Good Shepherd, movements to combat polio and breast cancer, and event assistance for schools in Timor Leste.

“Rotary casts its net very far and wide,” Mr Segan said. “An organisation could get $1000 or whatever but it all helps.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 15 January 2019


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