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Natural Impressions at Montsalvat

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by Tricia Ziemer (subscribe)
Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Event: -
No this art can't be soap It's got to be real stone
Nature inspired art works at upcoming Exhibition
Nature inspired art works at upcoming Exhibition

When you bring together two of things I love best, you create an event not to be missed. And that event is the "Natural Impressions" Art Exhibition at Monsalvat. With the Artist's talks starting it off where you get to meet and greet the artists.

Monsalvat Stables and Entrance
Monsalvat Stables and Entrance - Photo Richards Higgs

One of my favourite things to do is view art in all its forms. I adore standing in front of a piece of art or sculpture closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, then opening my eyes and feasting on the "art" as it settles into my soul. For me, to visually explore every nook and niche and colour impact of a piece of art is a joy. Especially, if it is something different and unique like at this exhibition.

Butterflys captured in purity
Butterflys captured in purity

What do you see when you look out the window each day? For me it a frame to nature, the colours of the sky, the texture of the roses, the shape and form of the trees, the colour variations through a rock, a view to animals doing animal things, the stripes of shade in a tree trunk, the glisten of water on surfaces, the colour of the sky at sunrise and sunset. My window frames a piece of art, the art of nature. And many artists are so inspired by the natural landscape, that they create art for you to bring the outside in for everyday enjoyment.

Lucky for me two such stunning artists are about to hold an exhibition that does just this. And they are having a special launch and artist's chats at the Resident's Gallery gallery June 9th at 11:00 am.

Amethyst Shades of Nature
Amethyst Shades of Nature

Famous artists Lesley Mitchell and Denise Keele-Bedford are bringing a mixed media exhibition highlighting two things you would never suspect, Resin and Soap.

Artist, Denise Keele-Bedford, is a renowned world artist and was inspired by a recent trip to the Mallee filled with nature, especially gumnuts which began the formation of this intriguing art form. Resin and natural mediums come together in a clashing, yet symbiotic art form.

Art imitates life
Art imitates life or life frozen in time?

Artist Lesley Mitchell has been inspired while growing up in the opal mines, surrounded by the caves carved from the rock underground and the wide open Australia blue sky and arid places above ground.

There is a saying that to reground yourself with nature every day, you must walk barefoot outside on the earth to regain its healing nature. I believe this sincerely and practice this myself. Even in the dead of winter, I am barefoot.

And I believe, that Lesley believes this too as she lived surrounded by the Aboriginal Culture. She deeply felt and was inspired by the ancient energies as she went "walkabout". To add to her allure, she is a trained gemologist. And it all culminates into breath taking pieces of art.

Can this truly be soap?
Can this truly be soap?

According to Lesley Mitchell, "there will be a twist, a surprise, a not knowing" depicted at the art show. Well if your curiosity is not piqued, mine certainly is.

Lesley puts it this way, "In a hurried world, Mother Earth offers her gifts, boundless opportunities and connecting energies in which mankind can experience peaceful release. There is a joy that each person can experience by being in connection with Mother Earth, being surrounded by nature and it's beauty. We come to know it, to know the haven amongst the madness and sometimes humanity takes far too much of nature for granted.

Natural impressions asks you to imagine the delight of seeing something that you may find in nature, yet is in reality a creation the artist has delighted in, been inspired by and hand fashioned into an art-piece. Rather than fighting natural design, the artists have taken it to a different level of creation.

Intrigued and inspired, there is a twist, a surprise, an element of not knowing.

In this exhibition where things look familiar, all is not as it seems.

Bronze items are red, opaque becomes crystalline. A rock that roughens and damages the skin, now delights in nourishing. It is in this joy of surprise that humanity is intrigued. An art piece begs to be engaged with, to touch what should be cold and find it warm, to hear what should be crunchy to discover it is soft, to rub what is perceived as hard and find it slippery. The observer becomes the collaborator. There is a twist in the tale, a shift in the senses and a peaceful haven of knowing".

Well, I can't say it better than that. Sounds divine and I am counting the days till the exhibition launch and opening.

Monsalvat at Eltham our own local Castle
Monsalvat at Eltham our own ancient village - Photo Shireen Hammond

Now for my second most favourite thing, the VENUE.

Everyone loves a castle, right? Well I do. I have castles in my genealogy so I am even worse than most. The towering walls, the sculpted windows, the stained glass, and the majesty and age of the stones it is built with. It brings us back to the romantic age of King Arthur and the Knights of the Realm and the fair damsels in distress that need rescuing. Oh well, yes Sir Lancelot and Guinevere, were a bit naughty, but that's just a story. They might have just been really good mates. History does get befuddled over the years does it not?

And we have a slice of intrigue of our own, here in Melbourne, Australia.

We have our own little castle or "Great Hall" built in the early 1900's which still stands surrounded by its village cottages, stables, and chapel. It is just 30 minutes drive outside of Melbourne in the leafy hills of Eltham, and it is called "Monsalvat."

The name Monsalvat features in both German culture as a "mystical place" as depicted by composer Wagner in his music, and English culture as the "Secret location of the Holy Grail" in King Arthur's Tales.

But for us here in Melbourne, it means stunning place to visit, have a picnic and view magical artworks on a relaxing day. It was purpose built to honour artists and give them a place to create great things for the world. It was built by Justus Jörgensen and his family and friends, as an artists' colony and home for practicing artists. And it is the oldest art colony in Australia. The buildings are set in 12 majestic acres of gardens and a regular venue for weddings as well.

According to the Monsalvat marketing information, "Justus Jörgensen was a trained architect and student of the artist Max Meldrum. He married a medical student, Lillian Smith, in 1924, and their subsequent travels around Europe had a profound influence on the architecture of Montsalvat." And to this day it is a "hub" of art with exhibitions running regularly, concerts and art festivals.
Check the website, there is not one day, that something special isn't being hosted. Lucky it is open every day of the week.

Where is that picnic basket, time to pack up and get going, and "Don't forget the camera dear".

When can you see this lovely exhibition, on Natural Impressions from from June 9 – July 4, 2016 9 am to 5 pm every day

The venue is Resident's Gallery.
7 Hillcrest Avenue, ELTHAM VIC. 3095
Tel: 03 9439 7712
Gallery Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm
Images courtesy of Lesley Mitchell and Denise Keele Bedford and the Monsalvat website.

Monsalvat meanders across 12 acres for you to explore
Monsalvat meanders across 12 acres for you to explore - photo Richard Higgs
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*Tricia Ziemer was invited as a guest
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Why? Because you love unique art and picnics among ancient buildings
When: June 9, 2016 for 11 am launch till 4th July 2016
Phone: Tel: 03 9439 7712
Where: Montsalvat, 7 Hillcrest Avenue, ELTHAM VIC. 3095
Cost: FREE entry to exhibitions
Your Comment
Thank you Tricia I'm definitely going to this exhibit now!
by jessi (score: 1|11) 1503 days ago
I'd often heard of Montsalvat but I had no idea there were such magnificent buildings there.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7956) 1501 days ago
Absolutely amazing exhibition in a wonderfully quaint cottage. I am so enjoying the soap and it smells divine. Even my daughter who is very fussy, has fallen in love with the soap. One of the leaf samples that Lesley let me smell was to die for. Its on my list for my order. And what wonderful stories both these delightful artists had to tell. I felt very honored to receive and enjoy this invite. Thank you Lesley and Weekend Notes for the opportunity.
by Tricia Ziemer (score: 2|557) 1487 days ago
Thank you Tricia, look forward to seeing you on June 9th at 11am for the artists talk

The direct link to the exhibition is
by Lesley Mitchell (score: 3|3507) 1502 days ago
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