Cyclone Trevor didn’t stop Touring Team facilitator Theo Tremblay travelling to Weipa to deliver a Portraiture workshop for the community thanks to Weipa Town Authority. We asked him a few questions about his recent trip.
Tell us about the location you went to:
Weipa is a mining village of about 4,000 people. Many are mobile and there is plenty of spare time for those living long-term. Budding artists gathered to take part in the workshop. I particularly loved the monster machinery and the remodeled landscape – it reminded me somewhat of Canberra where I spent 23 years. My host spent two hours driving me around. I loved the location and would go back again.
Theodore Tremblay (left) and Chris Newman (right). Image: Theodore Tremblay
What did you cover in the workshop?
Basic Portraiture in charcoal and pastels. In the first of three, two hour projects, I demonstrated scaling up a drawing with a grid using a family photo. For the second project, I gave each student a photograph which they then had to draw free-hand. For the final project, we worked directly from a volunteer model, the miner husband of one of the students. I also gave short ten-minute exercises in right-brain function – drawing the hand without looking at the drawing; Creative mark-making exercises; Chiaroscuro using red conte pencil, black and white chalks and blending techniques using stumps. I also spoke about and gave examples of the seven depth perception cues in art.
Lynette, Emma, Vanessa and Megan show their artworks. Image: Theodore Tremblay
What do you think the ongoing outcomes of the workshop will be?
I think the high point was on the second day, after lunch, when the student’s excitement was greatest, the group decided to form a regular drawing class. This could be made possible through the Weipa Town Authority, as they allowed groups to meet one day per month for free in the very room we were drawing in. The group seemed very interested in getting me back and perhaps doing longer workshops over a week at a time. I suggested a plein air project and draw from the unique landscape around Weipa.
Megan, Vanessa, Emma working on their pieces. Image: Chris Newman
What was the highlight from your visit?
One student had little confidence when she began, but with encouragement and by showing her artworks based on an individual approach and not an academic one, she gained a level of confidence to the point where it began to be fun for her. I drew alongside the students and freely gave my drawings away and I think this was of benefit both to myself and the students who received them.
This workshop was booked as part of our By Request programs.
By Request programs are available on-demand, and can be booked on behalf of schools or creative communities such as groups, festivals, local government and organisations. By Request programs can be delivered by our Flying Arts Artist and Facilitator Team anywhere across Queensland.
Theodore Tremblay is a pioneer of collaborative printmaking and publishing, mentoring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in a range of print mediums. He specialises in etching, lithography, relief printing, mono-print and screen-printing. Theo completed his Bachelor of Fine Art at the Boston Museum School in 1974 and post graduate studies at Ruskin Fine Art, Oxford University (1976-77). He migrated to Melbourne and was amongst a group of artists and printmakers who formed the Australian Print Workshop. In 1981 he became a full time lecturer in drawing and printmaking at the Canberra School of Art and earned his Masters of Fine Art at the University of New South Wales (1989-93), publishing collaborative prints with Indigenous Arnhem Land and Canberra artists. Theo is now based in Cairns and with his partner, runs Canopy Art which is dedicated to showcasing the work of Far North Qld artists, in particular Indigenous artists working with print mediums.