Brad Franks, the Arts Centre Manager of the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre officially opened Upstairs Art on Sunday 9th December 2007.

Brad wrote the following comments and reflections to me on Upstairs Art and student work:

"Firstly I was amazed by what had been achieved by the students in what I understand to of been eight weeks of training. The quality of the works was outstanding, even more so when you take into consideration that many had not had any previous art training and some considered themselves to not be ‘artistic’.

Several of your students came up to me at the opening to tell me how much your training meant to them. In particular the way in which you had brought forth and encouraged their ‘latent’ skills and the way in which you have allowed them to be themselves but still moved them along, developing the skills they’re learning. They also praised the relaxed yet focussed atmosphere of the lessons, an ambiance which they fully attributed to your skill at creating the right environment.

Your use of the “Chiaroscuro Method” has obviously brought results which all could see at the exhibition. Perhaps more importantly it brought results for the students which they could see and which by holding the exhibition they could see the visitors appreciating – a terrific confidence boost. On another level it is important for artists to have access to a variety of training techniques and styles and your teaching is exactly what is needed here in the Upper Hunter. Not only are you providing an alternative to other techniques but by being resident in the Upper Hunter you are providing a continuity of teaching that is simply not available through one off workshops and artists talks etc. I sincerely hope that your teaching, your gallery and your own work will be an ongoing success.

Which raises the issue of your own work, I was most impressed with what I saw. In particular your drawings of the female nude were a very beautiful blend of the casual and the sharply observed, a difficult combination that many artists miss. I would like to see more of these in the future. With the couple of paintings, which were mostly works in progress I think, I was much taken with the bold use of colour and the expressionistic and gutsy application of paint – quite a contrast to your drawings, although your excellent draftsmanship is in full evidence.

I think your obvious warmth and skill as a teacher and your professionalism and dedication as both a teacher and an artist is an asset to Murrurundi in particular and to the Upper Hunter in general. I look forward to seeing not only more of your work but I’m sure I will be seeing more of your students work as well."

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Official Opening of Upstairs Art - 9th December 2007




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