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December 2020

Alan Waters - Article by Bethany G Rodgers courtesy of Arty-Facts December Newsletter 2020 [Mon, 7 December 2020]

  • Alan Waters - Article by Bethany G Rodgers courtesy of Arty-Facts December Newsletter 2020 -

A ‘T’ in a cup and the magic of ideas
On Alan Water’s final exhibition
“There’s not a lot to it, but there’s something to it… you just need to look and have a
Artist Alan Waters is holding out a large white teacup in a shaking hand. The teacup has a black paper ‘T’ in it and he’s asking me to guess what it is.
“It’s black tea,” he smiles.
“But I drink my tea with milk… so that’s hard for me to guess!” I argue.
So, he shows me the LIGHT at the end of a tunnel he’s made – I have to hold the large tube up to the light to see it. Then there’s an abacus, no more than 1cm high, with one hundred individually made beads on it. And paintings, dozens of extraordinary watercolour paintings in a style that can only be attributed to Alan Waters.

The extraordinary work of Alan Waters
All of Alan’s artwork requires a second look and further thought. Inside jokes, unexpected meanings and surreal yet moving symbolism plays a big part in Alan’s works. He’s worked as an artist full-time for more than 35 years and spent many years in the UK and Australia working as a furniture maker, a toy designer and even as a miniaturist – creating tiny pieces of furniture for doll’s houses.
But it’s his striking watercolour paintings he’s best known for.
So, why watercolour?
“Well, it is in my name,” he jokes.
He explains he completed a Fine and Applied Arts degree in 1973; “That didn’t help me, but what it did was set my sights on a career – though I never thought about it in that manner.”
Alan moved to London and worked as a furniture maker. He did a wood-turning course with a New Zealander called Mr Tibbets, who’d use a giant lathe to turn telegraph poles.
“That was wonderful. So, I thought: can I make something in the opposite direction?”
Alan used his knowledge of toy-making, furniture-making and antiques to create miniatures. He became renowned in the ‘miniature world’ for his off-centre turnings (something that’s very difficult to do) and moving pieces like tiny, adjustable music stands and moving toys.
A 1986 edition of ‘Nutshell News’ – an American publication for miniatures hobbyists - gushed:
“He makes all of his clock faces, bezel rings, finals in wood or metal, and does spiral turnings down to 1/6” in either leg or right.”

The Ah-ha! moment
When living in Australia, walking home from a summer fete, Alan says he had an ‘Ah-Ha!’ moment. He saw a banksia branch lying on the ground and picked it up because he thought it was very beautiful.
At this moment, he heard a voice: “Alan, you have to paint for the rest of your life.”
And so, Alan has painted ever since. He still has the painting of the banksia branch, amongst draws and stacks of paintings, sculptures and other art pieces created over the years.
“Those were magic words,” Alan says. “I was so chuffed to have finally found something…”
He says his unusual watercolour technique comes from his desire to control the process and this is why his bold, sharp style is so different from the traditionally loose watercolour painting style.
“I wanted to be the boss and not let the watercolours, not let the medium, tell me what to do […] It took practice. Perseverance.”

On the contrary, ideas are allowed to run wild. He says he knows where ideas come from: “I would put money on you finding ideas if you follow my techniques.”
“[M]y technique is […] Believing in yourself, believing in your skills. Then watching and waiting.
“You leave the ideas alone, they’ll come to you when they’re ready.
“[Ideas] come into my head… from there, into my hands and into my paintings and drawings.
It’s such a wonderful sensation to connect with an inanimate object like a leaf, a flower or a button or a policeman’s whistle.”
When asked if playing word games and using idea-creating challenges was part of his technique, he responds:
“Oh no, I just leave it alone. I just say: I’d like an idea please… you always have to be polite.
It’s never let me down, in all these years. It’s just like magic. You’re conjuring up something...some unusual aspect of something.”

Alan’s final exhibition
After many years of exhibitions, multiple art awards, TV documentaries and being sought after as an art tutor and judge, Alan has decided to hold one last exhibition.
Working with Kate Blomfield of TANTRA art, the exhibition will run at Queenstown Contemporary (36 Grant Road, Five Mile) from 20th December 2020 – 10th January 2021.
An opening night preview will be held on 19th December from 5 pm.
The onset of Parkinson’s disease means Alan will stop producing paintings. Many of the artworks will be for sale, so this could be your last chance to include one of Alan’s works in
your collection.
It’ll also be a celebration of Alan’s life and artwork over the past 35+ years.
See more:
Alan Waters:
Queenstown Contemporary:

Winner of the 2021 Kay Todd Memorial Photography Award 2021 [Mon, 7 December 2020]

  • Winner of the 2021 Kay Todd Memorial Photography Award 2021 -  - Josephine Plimmer with her Winning Work.

Winner of the Kay Todd Memorial Photography Award 20921 is Josephine Plimmer from Mt Aspiring College. Jose says, "this piece was part of a series for my Level 3 Photography board. I wanted to bring focus to how the subject matter captures the light and transforms it, rather than the focus on the objects themselves. I wanted people to see past the physicality of a table and some glass bottles and simply see an interaction of light and glass. The layers of light and shadow create an opportunity to appreciate the colours and shapes for what they are, rather than what they are used for."

Kay Todd was a founding member of Hullabaloo Art Space and a true stalwart of the gallery. As an artist, she produced some stunning photographs for which she won a number of awards. This photography award was set up to remember Kay.