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Everyone is welcome to Alice McLaughlin’s wonderland

A “mystery woman” in a blue dress with pen and sketchpad in hand sits under a shady tree alongside the driveway into the property of Apple Tree Creek artist Alice McLaughlin.
A “mystery woman” in a blue dress with pen and sketchpad in hand sits under a shady tree alongside the driveway into the property of Apple Tree Creek artist Alice McLaughlin.

A group with artistic passion makes its way to a residence near Apple Tree Creek every Thursday morning where they put paint to canvas or wedge clay into whatever shape their hands dictate.

Meeting at the home of noted district artist Alice McLaughlin, the Childers Visual Arts Group gathers to socialise, work collaboratively or simply to learn from others how to improve their skill at whatever artistic medium they have chosen.

From the moment you drive into the McLaughlin property you know you are in for a creative treat.

Colourful creatures modelled in clay and ceramic bid a happy welcome.

A mystery woman in a blue dress, her face shielded under a broad brimmed straw hat, sits under a shady tree by the driveway, motionless, pen and sketchpad in hand.

Noted artist Alice McLaughlin loves experimenting with all art forms.
Noted artist Alice McLaughlin loves experimenting with all art forms.

The lush gardens filled with modelled birds, large and small, oversized caterpillars and colourful dragonfly are interspersed with horse heads, dragons and even a bevy of playful nymphs reclining in various poses in a garden bed.

Tables under a spreading tree host a number of artists including Ian Glenwright, president of the Childers Visual Arts Group which has a membership of about 30.

“The pandemic has disrupted our normal gatherings, but we are back now and enjoying interaction with our fellow artists,” he said.

“This residence is perfect to get the creative juices flowing,” he said.

“It’s named “Creation Station” and quite a few of us, especially those using oils, gather outside under the Tree of Knowledge”.

“The tree’s heard such diverse artistic and social chatter it simply has to be knowledgeable,” he laughed.

“The group is working on pieces for an exhibition to be held at Gatakers at Hervey Bay in October. The theme of the exhibition is “Hallowed Ground”, Ian said.

Alice McLaughlin revels in the role of mentor and loves the opportunity to offer guiding advice.

“Goodness. I knew nothing about art when I started. I undertook a course by correspondence (there was no such thing as online!) and it just fed my enthusiasm to try all art mediums.

“I particularly love pastels but dabble in acrylic and palette art as well as enjoying great love of pottery.”

“There is an artist in everyone. Sometimes you just need a little technical advice on how to best express it.

“There are no critics here. We welcome everyone to attend and just do their own thing,” Alice said.

The gardens and its artistic ornamentation are indicative of the fun Alice derives from her art.

Ceramic birds make a lifelike scene as they perch on a window opening into Alice McLaughlin’s gardens.
Ceramic birds make a lifelike scene as they perch on a window opening into Alice McLaughlin’s gardens.

“I like to laugh and make people smile,” she said.

“That’s why we do lots of fun things like face masks, dogs and all sorts of creatures and quirky designs.

“Make no mistake, there are people here very serious about their work and they do produce amazing results,” Alice said.

New members are always welcome to attend the Thursday morning gatherings which commence around 9am and run until well into the afternoon. They are welcome to come along for two weeks to see if they wish to join group as members.

The property (10 Hebbards Road) is located off the Bruce Highway – simply take the first exit left after you pass under the overpass on the highway. Contact 41261581 for more information.

Other news: Door is always open at Childers Men’s Shed

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