Acclaimed artist Gary Shead spends most of his time painting and drawing in his beautiful studio in Bundeena, NSW. Only once or twice a year does he take leave of his little patch to do some travel through South East Asia or to teach a workshop on an island.
The acclaimed figurative painter, who has previously led fine art retreats at Arajilla on Lord Howe Island, has just announced his next art workshop will take place in Ubud. In May 2012, Gary Shead together with the Fine Art Dealer David Nagy, will welcome guests to an art workshop that is designed to wake up the five senses.
“It’s all a mystery to me, it’s all a big adventure and that is how it is for everybody,” says Shead, who traveled extensively through Papua New Guinea as a graduate from the National Art school in the late 1960’s, and believes cultural immersion is a tonic to the creative brain.
Open to only a dozen art enthusiasts, Nagy and Shead’s ‘Bali Art Experience’ includes close encounters with a local Balinese storyteller, intensive drawing workshops and just a dash of ‘de-cluttering’ meditation.
“I don’t really regard it as teaching, I regard it as a sharing of experiences at the place. We probably are a kind of guide, whoever we are, us artists, but that’s our function just to kind of guide the people,” Shead says.
The Fine Art Retreats Gary has taught previously supply students with all the materials they need and are suitable for everyone from very beginners to fully practicing artists.
Having painted and exhibited work for almost 50 years, Gary says he will share with people the various methods and techniques that have worked for him.
“I always start these things with drawing, at first we have a bit of fun with perception. Then once the group has got to know each other. We choose someone to start drawing. At first they usually say to me; ‘Oh I’m not very good at this’, ‘I haven’t drawn for a long time’, ‘It’s very hard,’ and so on and so on. Then I say: okay we will make it easier, you draw with the opposite hand – the old yard stick method – then we ask them to draw with their eyes closed and we just go on and experiment like that, until they start to feel free and they realise that to make a mark on paper is really not that hard," Gary says.
The next retreat planned for May 2-12 will take place at the resort of Warwick Ibah Ubud. Home to a series of Villas and Suites, Warwick Ibah is situated on 2 hectares of land between a Hindu Temple and a Holy Spring.
When working en plein air,o picnic lunches are provided by Bali’s leading boutique caterer, Lynley Marston and for some local insight Ida Bagus Oka, the retreat’s storyteller and cultural expert, will offer up a wealth of knowledge, on the historical, religious, spiritual and artistic context of the workshops setting.
“I think this experience that we are going to have, will be good because it’s always quite different when you go to place, when you go to Europe or wherever and you know someone there who is local then it is always quite different. You go to their place and see how they really live. It is not the same as if you are a tourist and you just go the hotspots."