The Art Extravaganza Is Almost Here

There will be art…

There will be music…

There will be food and wine…

…What more could you ask for?

Why not bring some friends along for a great Saturday night out?


5: Contagious

…tending to spread from person to person
Have you ever heard the term “a germ of an idea”?
The 30x30x30 Art Challenge is one of those ideas. The whole concept of 30 artists (or groups of artists) producing 30 works of art each in a 30 day period is unique and inspiring. So much so, I want to tell everyone about it.
Why are all these artists giving so much of their time and creativity? To help Treetops Montessori School – a little independent school set in Darlington in the Perth Hills (Western Australia). This school is one of the most nourishing environments for a child’s soul that I have ever seen. My children have been lucky enough to have experienced the melting pot of Montessori schooling in this spacious, tree-filled environment. There is room to breathe, play and learn.
This little school has recently benefited from the government stimulus package (thanks Kevin for the low interest loan) and has had a whole new high school building. The high school now has rooms dedicated to science, music and art. This building is fresh, airy and unfortunately quite empty of resources. THIS is why the 30x30x30 Art Challenge came about. If we can give these children opportunity to shine, we will see extraordinary results. The proceeds from the 30x30x30 Art Challenge will go directly to the Arts facilities at Treetops Montessori School.
Thank you dear artists, sponsors and friends who have given so much of their time and efforts to help this little school grow. We hope you can see the benefits you bring in the coming years.

Let this idea be contagious, let people know about this project, let friends and family come and enjoy the exhibition. Let them hear about the opportunity to buy works of art for only $50 a piece. Affordable art for everyone. There is an invitation to the event on facebook – head here to invite your family and friends!

It is going to be extraordinary.

Challenger 28: Treetops Artists

From Behind Curtain 3, we are excited to announce that the Treetops Artists have commenced their challenge and will create 30 artworks in the month of July.  The Treetops Artists are Pete Blake, Georgia Bolden-Strestik, Kristiina van Duyn, Christina Hancock, Natalie Hunter, Kelly Lawrence, Samantha McGubbin, Helen Nandlal, Zoe Neill, Sue North, Vanessa Roget, Vandra Stenton, Jennifer Sutherland and Yoland Tazwell.  The group describes their challenge:

Treetops Montessori School is our common link. We are a loose group of artists who work in a variety of media and have a range of experience. Some of us have never exhibited before and others are professional artists. We work in paint, photography, textiles and mixed media. We have chosen ‘Treetops’ as our connecting theme. This theme is being interpreted by each of us in our own way – literally, metaphysically, philosophically, naturally, scholastically – to hopefully result in a recognisable group of work. This challenge is an exciting exploration of our own creativity and the meaning of art and why we all love it.

Concentrating on Mammals by Moira Court

Moira Court reaches the half way mark of her challenge:

So, no whingeing about The Challenge this week.  My mother has told me off and even though she is thousands of miles away and I am a forty-year old lady I had better do what she says.  This week I have done a drawing that I am happy with.  I am not saying that it is any good, but I do like it.  (Please note that the black square is not part of it, that is just to preserve this creatures anonymity in a serious news story in a streaking sports fan kind of way.)  I did this sketch in poor visibility during the Storm of the Decade with no electricity to light the way. Perhaps drawing in the dark is the key.

What I am really enjoying about The Challenge is perusing my wildlife books every morning on the look out for animals up trees.  There are just so many weird and wonderful creatures.   Far too many to be covered in one 30 day bout.  So far I have been concentrating on mammals.  This is day 15′s candidate, a coati.  I can’t resist anyone who can bend their nose 60 degrees in any direction.

moira court

13: Captivated

to attract and hold the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence; enchant.

I bumped into one of the 30x30x30 organisers in the School car park last week. She was lugging an enormous cardboard box filled with completed canvases into Admin. My curiosity was piqued, and I asked if this was in fact some of the 30x30x30 canvases. Yes it was! I was allowed to peek at the very top of the box and the rainbow of colours that I saw had me captivated. And this was only the edges of the canvases!

My imagination started to run riot. What are on these beautiful things? How have the artists coped with the 30 works in 30 days? Are they a series of paintings? Who? What? When? Where? How?

I am completely insatiable.

So now we have to wait, completely and utterly captivated while the second half of the 30x30x30 project rolls on.

What is it going to look like when all the works are displayed? I can only imagine…

“As a child, what captivated me was reading the poems myself and realizing that there was a world without material substance which was nevertheless as alive as any other.”
Mary Oliver

15: Connection

A relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.

The connection Treetops Montessori School is building with the extended community on this 30x30x30 project is just wonderful. As a member of the parent body, and a member of the Board of the School I can see the immediate benefits the project is having for the school.

The 30x30x30 project is raising awareness throughout the community to people who may never have heard of Treetops Montessori School. It is such a wonderful time for us to demonstrate how important community connection is to the school.

Did you know that Montessori encourages a community connection? Students are involved in various projects for the community from plantings on the Darlington Reserve to painting bus shelters in the area. The senior school students currently studying for their IB (International Baccalaureate) have a portion of their curriculum dedicated to the community.

In our current environment – constantly criticised for the lack of community involvement of young people (if you watch the news in any case), this connection is absolutely vital.

I am proud to be a Montessori parent and to be part of our very own School Community.

18: Consider

Contemplate; think carefully about; show thoughtfulness for

The first 30 completed artworks were delivered to Treetops last Friday by artist Harry Barden.

The two cardboard boxes were unassuming and revealed little of the gems inside. Upon opening the cartons this week we were flooded with an amazing warmth and awe for what Harry has created for our School.  Thank you so much!

The paintings Harry has produced are intricate miniatures, each revealing a story and a character of their own.  Each with a completion date and a thoughtfully selected title.  As a group they form an awesome and powerful composition.

The work that Harry has put into his challenge is truly inspiring.  Harry completed all thirty pieces in 23 days, and on some days he finished four!  An outstanding effort!

Now we will take a careful record of each artwork and then gently place them back in their boxes for the long wait until 15th September.

24: Canvas

A closely woven, heavy cloth of cotton, hemp, or linen, used for tents, sails, etc.

I had the most extraordinary opportunity at Treetops Montessori on Tuesday evening. It was their annual AGM and I was lucky enough to have a tour around the new buildings that have only just been opened for the upper school.

Walking around this incredible facility, breathing in the freshly painted and carpeted smells, I was struck with the thought that these very places are blank canvases. Some of the rooms are not yet fitted out, some partially so… but the potential is incredible. Even the small pieces of student’s art placed around the art room were truly inspiring. The students that are lucky enough to experience this new facility could probably be likened to canvases too (but more fleshy and brainy, less flat and square). What are they going to come out of this experience of Treetops looking like? One thing is for sure… they will each be a work of art.

Now to dissect canvases a bit more.

Origin of the word “canvas” reaches back as far as 1260 from the Anglo-French language, “cannapaceus” meaning made of hemp. (1)

blank canvas

The question that pops to mind is: Why do artists use canvases? Of all the materials available, we still tend to gravitate towards these taut pieces of fabric stretched over wooden frames. Is it the texture that lures us? The portability? Or is it just the sheer tactile nature of having an object of art?

According to the Font-of-All-Knowledge (Wikipedia): “Canvas has become the most common support medium for oil painting, replacing wooden panels. One of the earliest surviving oils on canvas is a French Madonna with angels from around 1410″ (2)

But why did the artists of old replace wood panels? Surely a wood panel would be more durable and sturdy than a canvas?

It seems that the reason was due to “a sudden success of the merchant industry”. Canvas became affordable to the public, and was still a durable enough medium to withstand the tests of time. (3). Consider also the fact that canvas is much lighter, portable, and not restrictive when it comes to size. So it seems to me that we can thank the early maritime industry for what art has become today. Who would have thought we have more to thank them for than peppercorns?

I am excited about the journeys we will see in this remarkable exhibition. No doubt some of the artists who will explore completely new ideas, colours and subject matter. What will be extraordinary is the artists each bringing so many dimensions to this project (subject matter, mediums, materials) with the one thing in common: The Canvas.

I am especially interested in the collaboration we will see with among the contributing groups of artists. Collaboration…. now there’s a good title for the next blog.

  1. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 12 Mar. 2012. <>.
  2. Wikipedia