Many people have been inspired to travel to the Fleurieu Peninsula in SA courtesy of the information provided by a subscriber, John Wylie. However, we are not yet allowed to cross the border, so I thought why not wander down to our own peninsula in Victoria instead.
Mornington Peninsula is Victoria’s boot with a spur located south east of Melbourne. Without any goal except to find good coffee, we headed to Rye.
Imagine my delight when we parked right outside the Monicaart Gallery on route to find coffee. Consequently, coffee was delayed whilst I had a look at the interesting art and chatted to Monica Adams and her partner Joe.
Joe proudly advised that Monica, an accomplished artist had exhibited her works in various locations around the world including New York. Joe builds all the frames for the works as well as supporting Monica in other areas of the gallery, but he leaves the artistic expression to Monica!
All of the artworks hanging in the gallery are by Monica and they are all of women. Interestingly, Monica explained that she created paintings of beauty icons from the 40s and 50s, many of the artworks display women with brightly coloured lips and long luscious eye lashes often showing just a face and sometimes more.
Many reminded me of a mix of Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel and Bridget Bardot, all displaying features of glamour, intrigue, complexity and strength.
Monica, who has been painting and exhibiting since her Uni days, over 27 years ago, spoke about being greatly influenced by her grandmother Sheelah, especially in the use of patterns to provide an ‘antiquity’ to the works.
Many of the paintings are 170cm x 170cm showcasing the intricate designs.
Monica showed me an example of a patterned block she uses to provide the patterned effect seen in various painting . The blocks from India apparently arrive exotically wrapped, almost an artwork itself.
Monica often uses clear gesso before layering with charcoal and paints to give various textures and finishes, many paintings appear very vibrant with the use of gold and rose gold colours.^
^Gesso is very similar to white acrylic paint, only thinner. It dries hard, making the surface stiffer. Gesso prepares (or "primes") the surface for painting, making the surface slightly textured and ready to accept acrylic paint. Without gesso, the paint would soak into the weave of the canvas. (Credit art-is-fun.com)
Monica also paints women in urban settings like Brunswick or Prahran, suburbs of Melbourne, or places like New York.
There are also plenty of influences from places travelled such as London, Japan, Paris and Egypt.
It is difficult times for art galleries, having to close for months is difficult but Monica has expanded into bringing her artworks into people’s homes, offices factories which provides clients with a live experience of how the artwork will look and feel.
Monica’s teenage daughter Charleigh is starting to write a blog1 about Monica’s art and expands on the use of patterns….
Mum has always drawn women, to her it’s like a self-portrait, not just of her, but of all women. The patterns symbolise the stories that go with the women, because we all have unique stories. Her grandmother always told her stories and that’s where it all originated from.
Charleigh also provides an insight to the artistic process, which sounds like quite a family affair. My mother has this process with her artwork, once they are almost finished, she hangs them up in the lounge room. While we all watch TV, we talk about what could be added or taken away from the painting, she then takes it back to her studio and works on it some more. It’s a simple process but she manages to get a lot out of it. It also gives us a feel for what the painting would look like in a home.
Monica also offers art classes where students can learn drawing and painting skills, still life and portraiture but also a different sort of experience that really appeals to me and that is exclusive art classes with a touch of Elegance.
This is an exclusive classy Art event for Women with Lavish wine tastings accompanied by mouth-watering finger foods and canapés enabling an afternoon of self-indulgence.
What is not to like about that!
All paintings and photos courtesy of Monica Adams.
Further information available at monicaart.com.au