The Operative - Kelly Robson & Dan Hollier: artists-in-residence August 2015

We arrived at Gunyah on a sunny afternoon and were struck by the view and how lovely the house is. We were so excited to call it home for the next week. 

Kelly Robson & Dan Hollier, Gunyah view, August 2015

First things first, we unpacked the car. It felt like we had brought literally everything but the kitchen sink! But we were determined to not have to leave for any supplies, and with an almost-two-year-old, we thought better to have too much than too little! Seriously though - packing and unpacking was a two hour exercise in itself!

Kelly Robson & Dan Hollier, Car and dog, August 2015

Whilst familiarising ourselves with the place, Miss O decided that a spot of sweeping was in order. A professional procrastinator in the making.

Kelly Robson & Dan Hollier, Sweeping with Olive, August 2015

It rained for a few of the days we were there, with lightning even striking the house once and causing all the lights to go out. A bit of excitement for the day! Just a flick of the switch on the power-board and everything was all back to normal again though luckily. 

Kelly Robson & Dan Hollier, Gunyah rain, August 2015

As hoped, we were able to focus on all things THE OPERATIVE, and it was the perfect environment and opportunity to sit down and discuss projects that we're working on currently, and to workshop how we can distill what it is we want to provide through our company, and how to best communicate our range of services to those that need it. Excitingly, we also tweaked a few things on our new website www.theoperative.com.au which is now live!

Kelly Robson & Dan Hollier, The Operative website goes live, August 2015

Of course, when we saw an old advertisement on the kitchen cork-board with directions to the TALLEST *KNOWN* TREE IN NSW we couldn't resist a drive down the road to go and bask in its distinguished glory.

Kelly Robson & Dan Hollier, Tree walk, August 2015

All in all, a very special stay. Thank you to Kath and the Gunyah owners.

Kelly, Dan & Olive

Sharon McKenzie: upcoming artist-in-residence

Sharon McKenzie working in her studio, 2014, photo by Rob William, The Queensland Times

Sharon McKenzie is an artist based in Ipswich Queensland. She has a Bachelor of Visual Art majoring in illustration and a Graduate Diploma in painting from Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Last year, Sharon won the Wayne Kratzman Award in the Qld Regional Art Awards with her work Exquisite Corpse. In 2013, Sharon was awarded a Regional Arts Development Grant for her project Endangered. Focusing on endangered floral and faunal species, she undertook this project during 2013/14 as the Old Courthouse Cultural Association’s artist-in-residence. Sharon has exhibited extensively within Australia and has work held in many private collections. 

Sharon McKenzie, Exquisite Corpse: Regent Honeyeater, Grey Headed 
Flying Fox, Squatter Pigeon and Black Throated Finch, 2014, 
pen on paper, 2014 Wayne Kratzman Award Winner

Sharon's practice bridges scientific information with everyday assumptions, through a meticulous process of drawing and painting. She sketches extensively in the field, and also in the Queensland Museum and the Botanical Gardens Herbarium collections. These drawings evolve into delicate Frankenstein like re-assemblages combining a variety of species' features, challenging commonly held beliefs about endangered flora and fauna. Sharon also reads broadly on subjects related to her projects, creating layered understandings and responses in her work. 

Sharon McKenzie,  Exquisite Corpse: Marbled frogmouth, 
Squatter Pigeon and Swift Parrot, 2014, pen on paper

"During my Gunyah residency I plan to look at native flora and fauna of the local area, recording via sketchbooks and photography the local places that endangered species have lived and continue to live. I plan to focus on three species, which featured in my QLD Endangered project. These three are also listed as endangered in the Newcastle region: the Regent Honeyeater, Swift Parrot and Powerful Owl. During my Endangered project I worked mainly with the corpse of the animal, through the Gunyah residency I hope to see evidence of the living animal, within the local environment and record it. As the mother of three young children I also see this residency as a way of creating understanding within my own family about the importance of native environments and species."


 Sharon McKenzie, Wreathed Series: woman wreathed in feathers from Powerful Owl and 
Glossy Black Cockatoo, also Plectranthus harbrophyllus, Melaleuca irbyana, Notelaea 
ipviciensis (endangered and critically endangered plant species), 2014, pen on paper

You can see more of Sharon's work on her website www.sharonmckenzieartist.com

Pablo Browne - Judith Martinez & Craig Billingham: artists-in-residence July 2015


Pablo Browne, Gunyah collage, 2015


We arrived at Gunyah just after the sun was setting, so it wasn’t until the next morning that we realised how magical our location was. Our home for the next 12 days had a wild native garden leading to a jetty, and resident wallabies and pelicans dotted the scenery.


Judith working at Gunyah, 2015

Craig and I settled into our new environment very quickly. At first, we had a sense of urgency about what we'd set out to achieve – we were only too aware of what was waiting for us when we returned and we wanted to make sure everything was completed before we left. But that approach soon faded as we let the days at Gunyah unravel by themselves – reading, writing, sketching, stitching, scribbling, thinking – it all just fell into place.

Pablo Browne, Gunyah collage, 2015

We developed the characters for our manuscript. The storyboarding process saw a change in our initial narrative – one we welcomed. This inspired Craig to start work on a story we have had planned for a couple of years and never got down on paper. I spent a day working on the facial expressions of the main character and another developing the mannerisms of his companion. All this sketching led to a breakthrough in my drawing technique that allowed much more movement in the characters but still retained the na├»ve style in line work. This is something that has consumed me for many years! - and could not have happened without time and practice.

Pablo Browne character development drawing, 2015

On a rainy afternoon, I categorised the antique photographs I have collected for my work. Seeing the photographs laid out made me realise what I had and how I could use them. I completed seven of my ‘Last Engineers’ for an exhibition that will take place in November. This pottering fed into my daily routine and became part of the creative process.

Judith sorting photos in the Gunyah studio, 2015

A few short day trips allowed me to take some landscape photographs for my photo-media montages and inspired some short story writing.

Pablo Browne, Gunyah collage, 2015


Craig also managed to do some writing for his doctorate and had time to process what the next two and a half years will be like for him as he completes it.

Judith Martinez, The three fates, 2015

The days, uninterrupted by phone calls, emails, internet or television, were longer – measured by waking up, working, walks, mealtimes and preparing the evening fire to keep us warm. This allowed many ideas to come into sharper focus, and for several to materialise.
Thank you Gunyah.

Judith Martinez 
July 2015

Judith Martinez, The last engineers, 2015