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Fran Callen Sketchyclass at blue-bird coffee lounge

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events.
Drawing life from life
FRAN CALLEN SKETCHYCLASS at blue-bird coffee lounge
Musicians by Fran Callen.

In conjunction with Sue Fleming, Creative Director of Wunderkammer Gallery Gifts, well known and successful community visual artist and writer, Fran Callen, will be conducting her Sketchyclass workshop, Drawing life from life at the blue-bird coffee lounge on the ground floor of 129 Currie Street, Adelaide (just below Wunderkammer Gallery Gifts) at 9.30 am – 11.30 am on Saturday, 16 April, and Saturday, 7 May, 2016.

FRAN CALLEN SKETCHYCLASS at blue-bird coffee lounge
Courtesy of Fran Callen

Fran Callen's style is very much about sketching life. She sits in pubs and cafés where people are moving and going about their normal lives while she captures the moment and the movement in a way with her very delicate line work, with an energy that seems to leap off the page. In these sketches, Fran uses pen, water colour, and whatever comes to hand – such as coffee, wine and salt. In the sketchy classes participants will explore techniques relevant to sketching life quickly, from life, in pen and pencil, then bring in more experimental media to highlight and colour and bring to the fore certain parts of the work.

FRAN CALLEN SKETCHYCLASS at blue-bird coffee lounge
Sketch by Fran Callen

Fran teaches drawing and painting at the South Australian School of Art. She has produced some amazing pieces. In 2012 she was resident 'Live Artist' at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and co-ordinated the exhibition Move at Light Square Gallery, Adelaide. In 2015 Fran exhibited in Mad For an exhibition of artists reflecting on their experiences as mothers and as artists, co-ordinated by Eleanor Zecchin.

Among her Sydney highlights was the International Women's Day event In Her Nature to Decide co-ordinated by Candy Royalle at Red Rattler, Marrickville. Fran created live drawing performances with Sydney poets, Edwina Blush, and Angela Stretch. These works were then exhibited at Little Fish Gallery as Her Nature to Decide – the exhibition.

Fran was fortunate enough to produce one of the last portraits of Chrissy Amphlett, Australian actor, songwriter and singer. Her portrait was shortlisted in the Portia Geach Memorial Art Prize. She flew to New York to do the portrait of Chrissy who sadly died from breast cancer on 21 April 2013. This large scale canvas will shortly be exhibited at Wunderkammer Gallery Gifts. It will not be for sale as Fran had gifted the painting to Chrissy before she passed away. Chrissy requested that it finds a home in an Australian Gallery 'where lots of Australians will see it,' (Chrissy Amphlett). There are moves to find a home for this portrait in one of the galleries in Australia.

FRAN CALLEN SKETCHYCLASS at blue-bird coffee lounge
Chrissy Amphlet courtesy of Fran Callen

Many will remember "Chrissie" Amphlett as the front woman of the Australian rock band, the Divinyls. The bands hit record Science Fiction, written by Chrissy and lead guitarist Mark McEntee was selected as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). In 2006, the Divinyls was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame.

FRAN CALLEN SKETCHYCLASS at blue-bird coffee lounge
Sketch Remember me by Fran Callen

In 1982, Chrissy made her acting debut in a supporting role as the temperamental lead rock singer in the movie, Monkey Grip. She starred opposite Russell Crowe in the first Australian production of Willy Russell's stage musical Blood Brothers (1988). She also played Judy Garland in the 1998 original touring production of The Boy from Oz, with Todd McKenney who is best known for portraying Peter Allen.

Sketchyclass is designed for all skills levels from beginners to accomplished artists and encourages participants to broaden their sketching life skills. The workshop will show you how you can do just that and be amazed by your results.

The workshop caters for a maximum of eight participants. It is essential to book to avoid disappointment. If there is an expression of interest for a second class, Sue will immediately check with Fran, to arrange additional workshops as both Sue and Fran are very keen to get them underway. Sue said, "I would love Fran to run a workshop in blue bird once a month, as I am sure there will be a lot of interest and it is something that will build and grow."

FRAN CALLEN SKETCHYCLASS at blue-bird coffee lounge
Courtesy of Fran Callen

For those who are yet to visit Wunderkammer Gallery Gifts it is a lovely gift store offering locally sourced art pieces, jewellery and décor. It offers a wide variety of vintage treasures and handcrafted one-offs. There are items from all around the world along with items from local artists and craft people which you are not going to find all around town. To enter Wunderkammer Gallery Gifts, you simply follow the stairs to the first floor above blue-bird coffee lounge.

Fran is a very accomplished artist and very talented writer," said Sue Fleming. "I first met her when she participated in the Adelaide College of Arts, Professional Writers' Program. She just stood out as someone who was very different and then she shared her art with me. We have been associated for some time now."

Remember: No pre-requisites. Just enthusiasm for drawing experimentation and a desire to develop drawing skills, loosen up, increase drawing confidence, or just get back into drawing.

Maximum 8 participants

Cost: $40

Saturday, 16 April, 2016 – 9.30 am – 11.30 am.
Saturday, 7 May, 2016 – 9.30 am – 11.30 am.

For further information: email Fran at

Bookings: direct with Fran at
or at Wunderkammer Gallery Gifts by cash or credit card.
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Why? Follow your desire to develop drawing skills, loosen up, increase drawing confidence, or just get back into drawing.
When: 18 June 9.30 am - 11.30 am
Phone: Sue Fleming: 0407 711 667
Where: blue-bird coffee lounge, 129 Currie Street, Adelaide
Your Comment
Wow, several items of interest in one article; a vibrant art style (using wine, salt or coffee), an art gallery I haven't been to, and a new café with a cute name. Thanks Hayden.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4196) 1837 days ago
Thanks Jenny for the positive comments. Wunderkammer is now open Monday - Saturday. blue-bird coffee lounge opens this Tuesday 12 April. I am giving Rob sometime to settle in before writing more about what he has planned in the near future. The gallery and coffee lounge concept should prove very popular. Cheers, Haydn
by Haydn Radford (score: 3|1141) 1836 days ago
As these dates have passed, any more Fran Cullen drawing workshops planned? Wonderful work.
by naturopath (score: 0|5) 1767 days ago
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