My tribute to Aussie land leading up to Australia Day January 26, continues on the New South Wales side of the border in the Tweed Valley. This is an area very different from the high rises of Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise of the famous Queensland Gold Coast.
The Tweed is much greener and more open, with farms and hills in between splashes of suburbia, although most of the former majestic rainforests were cut down a century ago. The area has a coastal ribbon with beaches every bit as beautiful as those across the border.
The lovely valley is a spit from the Gold Coast but a million miles distant in style.
Murwillumbah, one of its main towns, is the home of the Tweed River Art Gallery known for quality exhibitions and its idyllic setting. I took the shot above from one of the gallery balconies. The 'sheep' are actually sculptures that look perfect in the green paddocks that stretch for miles.
Here's a close up of these lovely creatures.
The gallery itself (bigger than it looks here) has been designed to sit easily in the countryside.
The Tweed River Art Gallery is surrounded by breathtaking scenery, and has windows designed to take advantage of that from every direction.
The mountain in the distance is Mount Warning, actually the plug of a huge extinct volcano and reputedly the first spot on the East Coast to feel the sun's rays each morning. The explorer Captain James Cook named the mountain because it warned him of the proximity of the land.
The mountains in the distance include the edge of the caldera of the volcano and part of the Great Dividing Range. This range originally cut off the early British settlers from easy access to the interior.
The waterway is the Tweed River that meanders for many kilometres through fertile land and down to the coast near my home.
The valley is known for its large number of resident artists and the gallery stages many exhibitions featuring local work. It also hosts travelling exhibitions that bring works normally inaccessible to people in the region, and has an excellent and growing collection of its own.
Entry is completely free to all.
'Mossy Gully Purlingbrook 2003' by William Robinson
A friend and I enjoyed the rib tickling exhibition of lithographs by the brilliant Queensland artist William Robinson, better known for his huge landscape paintings like the one above. Sadly gallery rules forbid me photographing any of the works actually on display.
Notes to the Robinson lithograph exhibition quote the artist as suggesting the works were a series of self revelations. He invites viewers to look past the caricature-style drawings of the artist amid farmyard animals to seek deeper meanings.
I loved the whimsical Robinson images on the Tweed gallery walls, as well as entries in the Tweed Valley Art Prize 2009 which is also on the current programme.
These budding artists were happy to have me snap them at work with their proud Mum in the children's area.
We two big kids had fun after a tasty lunch on the gallery balcony. We snapped each other against these great images over the gallery fire stairs. You can see this lovely art space leads just about anybody on the path of wanting to be creative! This is me acting out for the camera.
Do you have a local art gallery near your place?
By the way I have posted the fifteenth episode of my Australian mystery novel 'Paternity' on Journeys in Creative Writing. Read it now! There are also links available if you wish to start the story from the beginning.
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