Did you know we have our own local art course here in The Otways?! Taking new enrolments now :)

SWTAFE is offering Certificate IV and Diploma units in the Visual Arts in Forrest 2015! The course is part time and runs on Fridays at the Forrest Hall. The enrolment session will be held on Friday February 6 from 10am to 12pm.

Read about graduate student Catriona’s experience of the art course and look where it has taken her on her art journey!

In Her Own Words: Catriona Ebeling – Artist


I grew up in Warrandyte in the 1950s and 1960s, an artistic environment where I developed an early interest in all art forms. Following a teaching career in Professional Writing & Editing at Gordon Institute of TAFE and the School of Communication and Literary Studies at Deakin University, I completed Certificate IV in Visual Art and Contemporary Craft at South West TAFE in 2012, studying under an inspiring teacher Salvina Conti.

I explore diverse media on various surfaces in my artwork; from oils, gouache and acrylic paints to carved stone and local volcanic rock. My art is strongly influenced by journeys and reflects the surrounding environment. I am inspired by landscapes where I seek to capture the patterns and layered sequences in nature and its geometric patterns of repetition of growth and decay. I trace journeys I’ve experienced and other people’s stories and journeys.

‘I seek to examine and question how we exist in relation to ourselves, others and our environment. The impact and connections that these social and natural interactions have are central to my work’.

Artist Statement


The bridge (1)

For my family the Golden Gate Bridge symbolises strength of family connections through its solid powerful pillars and cables, yet emerging through a dreamlike mist the bridge also traces sequences of faded childhood memories and dreams.

My husband grew up in San Francisco but has lived in Australia since 1974. The Golden Gate Bridge provides a constant and significant landmark in his life, with its nostalgic reference to boyhood dreams and our family’s cultural heritage – rather like the Sydney Opera House for Australians living overseas.

The colour palette is deliberately minimised to create shadows and angularity. A blue background wash of sky contrasts with the bold red foreground pillar and its charcoal grey shadowed pillar. The background buildings are mere suggestion, emerging from the swirling mist of memory.

The smaller canvas provides a scale to enhance the monumental size of the bridge and the strength in its structure. The cables are both drawn on the canvas and are actual wires woven through the surface of the canvas to exaggerate dimension. The mist emerges from a tracery of faded images and networks worn into the surface of the canvas.

This artwork began as an art group task to create a collage, where I explored the angularity of the bridge emerging from the haze of background buildings. When later challenged to develop one focal point from the collage and change its scale, I honed in on the Golden Gate Bridge as a powerful constant in a world of flux and change. But it’s more than this…


I am not who you think i am

This artwork gives voice to our inhumane treatment of refugees. As a nation, Australia has developed policies to dehumanise the people most in need of refuge and safety from persecution, particularly recently during a period where we led the world through a global financial crisis. Such treatment of refugees has impacts on the whole of society, encouraging the very worst in its people – fear, intolerance and hatred. I want to give voice to the human side of this story.

The focal point is the nineteen year old Afghani whose story was printed in the middle of the year in ‘The Age’ under the banner headline ‘I am not who you think I am’. I am a father, a brother, a son, a skilled worker, a family man. His story lies in tatters on the page.

To express this turmoil, I have created a juxtaposition of softer curves with the angularity of sharp lines and tormented half-shapes. Human faces are obscured by a fretted networked web of lies and hypocrisy. Lineation draws out the tension and strain as bars and fences are extended barriers across the page. The pastel colour palette and lacework softens the harshness of what is actually happening, to bring a more human voice to the actual stories of these refugees – if we take time to listen.

2014 Students Past & Present  – ‘CURRENT’ Exhibition

Forrest Neighbourhood House Coordinator and Caterer Extraordinaire – Gillian Brew!

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