Otway Life Magazine spoke to local Bambra artist, Louise Brown, about her life in the Otways and her passions.
Q.1. What brought you to this part of the world?
After living and working overseas in Italy and America and returning home
to run a business in Melbourne, my husband, Brendan and I wanted more time
and freedom for our growing family. Not wanting to be locked into the
exorbitant house prices in the city, we decided to look at areas within a
2hr drive from Melbourne which could also provide space to be creative,
paint frescoes and build pots in beautiful, natural surroundings with access
to a good surf beach. Bambra was affordable, naturally beautiful, and upon
moving here 15 yrs ago, we discovered the fantastic community and school at
We decided to build our own straw bale house in the country and having grown
up in the inner city suburb of Middle Park, I was enthralled at the idea of
living in a home-made house surrounded by hills and forests. It was
important to create a life where we had the time and space to work on our
creative endeavors, whether they be painting, sculpting, or music. Bambra
was the perfect place. green pastures, wide open spaces, natural forests and
access to a most magnificent coastline.
Q. 2. What do you love best about living in Bambra?
Looking out across the Otways is something that I will never tire
of.watching the blue wrens, eagles, and kangaroos and hearing the
kookaburras sing their songs.
Bambra offers sanctuary from a busy world. Its remoteness offers the peace
and quiet that can’t be found living in the city. Bambra has a wonderful
history steeped in Indigenous culture and has retained all of its raw,
natural beauty and very diverse landscape. It is also situated in the middle
of three wonderful communities being Deans Marsh, Birregurra and Winchelsea
and for me is both at the centre of everything and yet is remote enough to
allow me to withdraw from the outside world at any time and be at peace in
the natural environment that surrounds me.
Q. 3. What or who inspires you with your music and art?
Musically, my six sisters were a huge inspiration. We harmonized at any
opportunity, around the piano, the dinner table, or in the car. As a child,
my mum also inspired me to persevere with cello which unbeknown to me would
become a huge part of my adult life.
My mother also spent many weekends driving me to orchestra practice and classical music recitals which is probably how I ended up having the courage to be doing the Choirs and music that I do now.
On a professional level, Andre Rieu is one of my favorite musicians as he
has single-handedly managed to bring classical music to the masses with his
talent, charisma, passion and sense of fun!
I also love to paint and have always done so even as a child. I graduated
with a bachelor of fine art/ painting from RMIT and have always loved
Vincent Van Gogh’s painting style and his fantastic ability to capture the
essence of any landscape through colour and texture.
Q. 4. What is one thing remaining on your bucket list?
That’s a difficult question! I’ve never really had a bucket list as the
things that I dream of doing are the things that I do at present.
Having witnessed first-hand the benefits of music and singing through our
local ‘OMM Choir’, I realize that we as a community do have a voice and it
is time to use this to promote harmony, unity and come together to take a
stand and for those who have no voice. I am passionate about bringing
positive change in our treatment of Asylum Seekers and our indigenous people
in Australia and my bucket list would be to facilitate greater acceptance,
tolerance and understanding of these minority groups and to provide a
platform for our community to join together and raise awareness through
On a lighter note, I guess my ‘bucket list’ would also include finishing off
our Straw bale house and (when the kids have grown up), setting off with my
husband on an extended driving adventure around Australia.
Q. 5. How and where can people view your artworks?
My greatest art patrons in this region are Brett and Christine Smith from
“Otway Escapes” (luxury accommodation in Pennyroyal). Over the years, they
have commissioned multiple murals and trompe l’oeils for their imaginative
overnight packages including a pop-art themed vintage Airstream caravan, a
Japanese teahouse, quirky ‘Love Shack’ and the amazing spa cottages complete
with large scale art works.
(All of which are available for rent through their website.
Although most of my paintings are privately commissioned, some frescoes can
be seen on signs at Blakes Estate Winery, Deans Marsh Art Gallery, Bambra
Wetlands and on local meter boxes and roadways throughout the area. Shipping
containers, concrete water tanks are a preferred canvas for me as well as
Melbourne restaurants and large-scale themed events.
I also regard any ‘OMM Choir’ performances as a special collaborative
artwork with the community. These shows are filled with sound, colour,
movement and energy and can be seen annually at major local Festivals
including the next upcoming performance taking place on Sun Oct. 9th 2016 at
the Birregurra Festival.