Leon Pericles in the gardens of his studio Source: Margaret River Open Studios

Margaret River Region Open Studios 2021: The Artist Studios You Need To Visit

Stretching from Busselton to Augusta, the Margaret River region is a haven for Western Australian artists and creatives. But even if you regularly frequent the region, you may not realise that you’re passing by the workshops of some of the state’s most talented artists. In September, Margaret River Region Open Studios will see over 140 of these artists open up their creative spaces to the public and give us the unique chance to be immersed in their artistic process.

From painters and ceramists to sculptors and jewellery makers, the event gives almost every type of artist the opportunity to not just share their work but the spaces that inspire them. The chair of the event, Jim Davies, explains:

Meeting artists in their studios gives visitors a great opportunity to sticky beak into often out-of-the-way private spaces, and there is much pleasure in discovering the particular creative ideas and techniques of individual artists. It’s a chance to share concepts, admire art and maybe even own a treasured piece.

What many people don’t realise is that the event is free. To attend, simply travel down to the region between 11-26 September 2021 and look out for the Margaret River Region Open Studios outside each venue. It’s good to know that not every artist’s studio is open every day of the event. It’s best to pick up an event program from any Jackson Drawing Supplies Store and plan your experience according to the artists you most want to see.

Whether you’re an art collector, budding artist yourself or you will no doubt find a sense of inspiration by immersing yourself in these creative spaces. We spoke to some of this year’s artists about what to expect from their studios and the Margaret River Region Open Studios 2021 event.

Leon Pericles

Leon Pericles is undoubtedly one of the most well-known artists in Western Australia. Represented in galleries around the country, the studio provides visitors with the opportunity to see his vibrant mixed media, painting, printmaking, sculpture works up close. For Leon, it’s also an opportunity for visitors to see the process that goes into creating each artwork. While getting to see Leon’s work is an experience in itself, visitors can also expect a chat over a cuppa and a stroll through the inspiring gardens of the property.

When visiting Widji Lane guests can expect an experience beyond just the studio. We want visitors to embrace the entire property as part of the experience. We welcome the exploration of every corner and detail. Find all the hidden treasures and spot the architectural details. Inside the studio there will be plenty to look at and talk about the etchings, paintings, sculptures, books and curiosities. As always there will be a cuppa and a chocolate too.”

Leon Pericles

Considering the entire property as his studio, Leon’s studio is not to be missed.

www.timcampbellphoto.com

Lauren Wilhelm

Lauren Wilhelm’s studio reflects her preoccupation with the past. Inspired by classical portraits of wealthy landowners, modern-day land developers and the role that animals play in human lives, Lauren’s studio is filled with antiques, curios and works that attest to her love of everyday history.

Giving visitors a unique insight into her artistic inspirations, Lauren says, “Sharing in the personal experience of seeing a working studio with its linseed oil smell and chaos and having the gritty creative process more accessible, can only benefit viewer, artist and galleries alike.”

This year, Lauren says that visitors can expect plenty of new paintings and sculptures, along with some amusing animal activity outside the studio as well.

Lauren jokes, “Either my studio is getting smaller or there are more paintings than in previous years! Just outside the studio too, there’ll be a bit of activity. Three orphan kangaroos who hang around outside, and a massive new aviary of rescue parrots will ensure a bit of entertainment.”

Image: Lauren Wilhelm at work Source: Margaret River Open Studios

Lesley Meaney

Margaret River artist, Lesley Meaney, creates her art in an inspiring 80sqm studio space in Yallingup. Driven by a deep appreciation and respect for the Australian landscape and the intricate details and patterns found in nature, visitors can gain an insight into how Lesley interweaves her inspiration into her work.

When asked about what does her studio reflect about her creative practice, Lesley says:

My art practice is diverse – I am willing to take risks, to experiment and to explore different materials, techniques and concepts. A constantly shifting focus between abstraction and representation. Both large and small works. Finished works and works in progress.

Lesley Meaney

At Lesley’s studio, visitors can expect to see a wide range of Lesley’s paintings, drawings, shelf scales and stitched canvases, along with a warm welcome, an opportunity to chat and purchase art.

Image: Lesley Meaney surrounded by her art Source: Margaret River Open Studios

Ingrid and Josh Windram

Artist’s Ingrid and Josh Windram are a mother and son pair who share a studio space. While both create distinctly Australian work, Josh’s work features unique blending techniques that focus on light, and Ingrid works with realism, impressionism, and abstraction painting styles. Set on a sprawling six-acre plot, the studio gives you the chance to see a mother and son’s individual take on the artistic process and the elements that inspire them.

Ingrid believes that the event gives people the unique opportunity to engage with the artist in their environment and gain a more realistic insight into the conceptual side of the artist, and not just the finished product. Describing her studio, Ingrid says:

The studio has an artistic display area and working studio space. Looking out of my window, I am surrounded by an inspiring environment of tall trees and an abundance of birdlife that flows into my art. The studio shows the process of my art-making, the layout of paints, brushes, easels and canvases that are in varying stages of completion. With the music on – essential for me – I can escape into the creative process.

Ingrid Windram

For Josh, the event is about finding a connection between artists and art enthusiasts, explaining:

“It is a unique experience for members of the public to not only be in direct contact with the artists but to see them at work in their own environment and meet the personality behind the art. I provide live demonstrations and interact with the public, often answering questions about the various techniques I use. It is a professional, yet fun environment complete with friendly banter and rivalry between the artists. I enjoy the interaction with the public and break from the solitude.”

Josh Windram

Kay Gibson

Kay Gibson’s work is largely inspired by her love of nature and the plants and animals that she comes across in her local Margaret River area. Housed in a large, light-filled industrial shed, Kay’s studio gives people the opportunity to see a large variety of techniques that she uses in her work, including printmaking, drawing, painting, paper mache sculptures, etching and the fumage technique that Kay applies onto blind embossed paper.

For Kay, the Margaret River Region Open Studios event gives her the chance to not only showcase her artwork but to speak to people about their reactions to her work and gain some very valuable feedback.

I enjoy speaking with visitors, hearing their stories and reactions to my work which is a unique experience for me. I often show completely new work and gaining direct feedback is important to me. The event has created many opportunities for artists including invitations to exhibit, artist residencies and running workshops to name a few. It has also meant that artists in the region are more aware of each other’s practice and in some instances, collaborations have resulted.

Kay Gibson
Image: Kay Gibson at work in her studio Source: Margaret River Open Studios

Peter Scott

With over 45 years of experience as a visual artist, Peter Scott’s studio will give insight into Peter’s creative process and artistic history. Drawing inspiration from the picturesque Margaret River region that he calls home, Peter’s studio is nestled into a quiet bushland setting. Surrounded by towering Jarrah and Marri trees, Peter describes his studio as a creative sanctuary that allows him to create paintings that showcase his love for the area.

My studio is filled with beautiful light, I have all sorts of music playing when I work and it becomes a very creative sanctuary. There are several tables and large easels in the centre of the studio where I produce my paintings, low bookshelves filled with art books line the walls, providing me with great amounts of inspiration and guidance. The walls are covered with the artworks that I have completed, creating a wonderful and inspiring painting environment.

Peter Scott
Image: Peter Scott at work Source: Margaret River Open Studios

Love art? Read about the masters of Aboriginal art, the best Australian ceramicists, and abstract art for the home.

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