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Derivan Open Day Fiesta

Home > Sydney > Art | Festivals | Free | Open Days | Workshops
by Irenke Forsyth (subscribe)
A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at
A celebration of all things creative
Derivan Open Day Fiesta has all the hallmarks of your usual festival with art, craft sales, music, children's activities and food but differs widely in its venue. Derivan is a paint factory, an Australian company based at Rhodes, and maker of fine quality artist materials that include the Matisse brand of acrylic paints, and now they are opening their creative doors to celebrate Fiesta style.

They will show you through tours, demonstrations and workshops how paint is manufactured and what is possible creatively. You'll be drawn into a colourful world where you can explore the inner artist in you. With 35 artists on hand and loads of free activities, there's something for the whole family to enjoy.

Here are some highlights:-

Explorative Demonstrations

Watch the artists as they share their creative skills with landscape painting, screen printing, decoupage, calligraphy, miniature painting, folk art and a whole lot more that will inspire and have you picking up a new hobby.

Simply pouring paint can create some great artwork. Kate Belton will show you different techniques, tips and tricks for creating dynamic abstract paintings with the wonders of acrylic mediums.

Artists' demos will be ongoing throughout the day on the factory ground floor or under the main marquee in the factory car park area.


Workshops will suit those that want a hands-on art experience. All are free and run for approximately 45minutes with Derivan supplying all the products needed. Some allow you to just show up on the day for them, whilst others require you to register online to secure a spot. You can also get a free paint sampler pack through this link.

Find your new passion in –


Get messy with adult finger painting and discover the joy of creating a landscape picture without brushes. Stephen Evans, a full-time artist who has worked in film and theatre, will run two workshops guiding you through creating a realistic and dramatic painting. Take the serious adult out of you and embrace the long forgotten you. They run at 10am and 12pm.

If you love garden art, then you might want to try painting a flower pot with Marg Lopez. She will demonstrate the process of sponging as well as painting techniques and adding the final touches. Terracotta pots will be supplied and designs will be on display with examples of how to create a fantastic end result. Add your individual touch with these classes on at 10.30am and 1pm.

Should you want to learn folk art painting, The Folk and Decorative Artist Association will have teachers on hand showing you some basic strokes. With bright colours and a choice of two designs, this workshop sees you creating a piece of work that celebrates the Mexican origin and vibes of the Fiesta. No previous painting experience is needed for these workshops, taking place at 10am and 12.30pm.

Screen printing

Learn the craft of screen printing with Andrew Totman as you create a custom tote bag, after all, you can never have too many tote bags. Wonderful tips will ensure your printed image is eye-catching.

The tote bag is included and there's no need to book as this is ongoing throughout the day.


Join The Australian Society of Calligraphers at the Calligraphy Table and learn this age-old art form as you experiment with letters, different tools and mediums.

Super Sample Stand

Derivan's paint professionals will show you their products and transfer some into sample containers for you to take with you and try at home.

They'll also demonstrate how to make your acrylic paint thicker, thinner, more textured, glossier and even transparent, in the mediums you use.

Creative Kids Corner

Following are some of the fun art activities for young budding artists. All of them use non-toxic products –

Face painting

Resident face painters with a range of designs will transform your child into their wish, whether it be a princess, an angel, a pirate or a zombie.

Apart from the regular face and body paint range, Derivan also has a fake blood range with a new fake blood kit, perfect (and just in time) for Halloween. You can make your own blood spatters and dripping bloodlines as well as creating bullet holes. The fake blood can be sprayed on both skin and clothes. It has a pleasant smell and can be used along with other products that create fake cuts and scrapes.

Paint catapult

Don't wear your best clothes as you're bound to get messy with the handmade paint catapult that sees you launching paint through the air.

There's heaps of laughs, whether you're flinging it or looking on as a spectator.

Paint spin machine

Join Peter Burr and watch paint fly with Derivan's paint spin art machine. As the canvas rotates, the centrifugal forces draw the wet paint outward creating awesome designs. No two designs are the same.

Factory Tours

Learn what it takes to create paint and how Derivan do it in the greenest way possible. CEO Steven Patterson leads you around Derivan and will answer any questions you have.

Tours run at 11.45am and 12.45pm. Meeting point is the factory's main entrance.

Open Day T-shirts are available to purchase and a sausage sizzle is available for a gold coin donation. Proceeds from these will go to The Starlight Foundation, who are known for brightening the lives of seriously ill children and their families.

For more of the program of workshops, activities and artists involved, click here.

Getting there

Derivan Paint Factory (address below) is only a 10minute walk from Rhodes train station. For those driving, unrestricted on-street parking is available in Leeds St, Cavell Ave and Blaxland Rd.

All in all, this is a day of fun and inspiration through learning and exploring, so come and join the fiesta.
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When: 10am-2pm
Phone: 02 9736 2022
Where: 4/23 Leeds St, Rhodes
Cost: Free
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