Sunday in Sydney glistened, the harbour was brilliant blue, the air crisp and the gallery full of Margaret Olley’s life. Carla and I arrived with paintboxes, striped bags, rolls of paper and blank canvases. Pashmina-ed friends met and air-kissed on the steps as we clanked and yanked ourselves into some sort of order. Paint-stained jeans, sloppy shirts, hot coffee and lime and macadamia cookies, we took in the early morning ritual of the opening of doors. We were there to do a masterclass with Aida Tomescu, the operatic slave to paint. We thought we would be down in the bowels of the gallery, tucked away but instead we were in a glass pedestal, shamelessly atop the escalators and hung brazenly for all to see. Outside the view of the city and harbour were inspirational, inside we were in the presence of a tiny dynamo. Aida was passionate and generous with her knowledge and allowed us glimpses of how Titian and the masters compositions can inform a continuous body of work.
It was a wonderful day we came away exhausted after taking in a quick once over the gallery after painting all day, we were inspired and excited and once again talked art all the way home again. It had been a long time since I had used an easel, what a wonderful studio even just for a day.