Getting to the ‘art’ of it with the Nambucca Valley Art Appreciation Group

Group Members gallery gazing in the Stringer Gallery in Nambucca Heads as part of a course called Treasures of Australian Art.


HAVE you ever seen a painting in an art gallery and thought “I wonder what that is all about?”

If so, here is an opportunity to get to the ‘art’ of it.

The Nambucca Valley Art Appreciation Group aims to give members some insights and background into the story of famous Australian artworks and some guidelines on how to approach paintings.

The group has been growing in numbers in the Nambucca Valley over the past ten years and now has over 80 members.

The course running at present is focused on ‘Australian Art and Social History’.

“We are looking at the work of acclaimed artists and considering their works in relation to the social history of the times they lived in,” said Marlene Griffin, Nambucca Valley Art Appreciation Group.

“Many of these artists have led colourful lives and we explore their experiences and exploits.

“There is often a humorous, entertaining and sometimes scandalous element to the life story of many of these artists,” Marlene said.

The very first Australian artist, John Lewin, somehow missed the sailing boat from England to Australia and his poor wife sailed into the unknown without him.

It was another two years before the couple were reunited and he could start to paint the fauna and flora of this strange land.

Prior to Covid-19 restrictions, Art Appreciation group members enjoyed face to face meetings.

Presently members are sharing the course by email with images of art works sent to members in each mail-out.

There is a mail-out sent to members every two weeks.

The course is free to anyone who wants to join.

Marlene said the Group has big things planned for the coming year.

“Our first artist of 2022 will be one of the most acclaimed artists in Australia,” Marlene said.

“He is often known as ‘Master of the Gum Trees’.

“You have most likely guessed that this is Hans Heysen.

“We will be following this up with an equally interesting story of his most famous daughter; the first female war artist of Australia and the first female artist to win the Archibald prize – Nora Heysen,” Marlene said.

Members of the group can participate by contributing their views on particular artists or art works but there is no obligation to respond to mail-outs.

You can simply enjoy the stories and hopefully be inspired by them.

For more information or to join the course, email Marlene Griffin at [email protected].


The Group can provide members guidelines on how to approach paintings.

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