Have Brush, Will Travel…

by Michele Eckersley

Ever thought about joining an art expedition to the Flinders Ranges?

Special interest travel is booming, especially with senior travellers. This includes everything from culinary trips, historical tours, walking pilgrimages, wellness experiences and cultural tours. They are all helping seniors pursue their special interests, while exploring new destinations.

Along these lines, active holiday specialist, Australian Walking Holidays has just launched a new art expedition to the Flinders Ranges. So, we decided to ask a few questions of long-time artist and art teacher, Michael Herron, who is leading the expedition, to find out more about this boom in special interest touring:

The Flinders Ranges has some of the finest scenery in the world.

Q: Michael, how is a special interest tour different from regular travelling?

A: The main difference is that special interest tours engage the traveller more fully in the destination. Pursuing a special interest while you travel, allows you to more fully immerse yourself in a destination. It could be by visiting the sites of historic battles (on a history tour) or learning about how the food of a particular destination has developed over the years. An art expedition fully engages travellers by putting the focus on the landscape – literally.

Embark on an artistic journey to develop new ideas

Q: What exactly is an art expedition?

A: The main goal is to give budding artists an opportunity to nurture their creativity, learn new skills and, importantly, to experience the destination in a new way. The itinerary for the 9 day Art Expedition Flinders Ranges, has been carefully crafted to combine time to paint with professionally guided optional day walks in the South Australian Outback. We’ll be travelling by private vehicle, so we have easy access to remote and rarely visited spectacular locations that will stimulate artistic thinking and get creative energies flowing.

Q: Why the Flinders Ranges?

A: The location for the art expedition is critical, because it has to nurture creativity. The Flinders Ranges is one the most picturesque and distinctive landscapes in Australia. Its vibrant colours are a great backdrop and the region’s spectacular peaks and rugged gorges are fantastic subjects for the art we’ll create.

Artist expeditions are open to both aspiring and accomplished artists

Q: Do participants have to be experienced artists?

A: No, not at all. Artist expeditions are open to aspiring and accomplished artists. The most important trait would be someone who wants to practice painting skills and be inspired by the stunning surrounds. I encourage artists to find their own expression of the landscape. Drawing, watercolour, acrylics or oils are all fine and working on pads of paper, allows anyone to really get involved with a location.

Q: Are there other activities apart from painting or drawing?

A: The focus is definitely on creating art but the itinerary is put together to allow participants to spend time in a range of diverse and inspiring landscapes, and they include opportunities to undertake optional guided walks.

A typical stunning orange sunset at Wilpena Pound

Q: Are there other destinations on offer?

A: In recent years, I’ve collaborated with Australian Walking Holidays on successful expeditions to Kakadu and on to the Larapinta Trail, both of which offer a similar combination of natural beauty, ideal for creating art.

Q: What can guests expect to experience during the artistic trip?

A: Guests can expect to embark on an artistic journey, to develop new ideas, fill sketch books and to review work. All the logistics are taken care of, so they’re free to make art from dawn till dusk if they wish. They can expect to meet with creative, like-minded people, whose responses to the artistic process will inspire them.

Be inspired by creative, like-minded people

Q: What exactly is your role?

A: I’m there to allow people to best experience the locations, give strategies and form a plan to build a body of work over the week. Participants return to the studio with finished work, paintings and lots of works on paper, the foundation for future studio works. I sit and paint with people, demonstrate as need be, talk through ideas and review work. Ideas, strategies techniques can be developed over a week and I tailor my efforts to best help everyone individually.

FOOTNOTE: Australian Walking Holidays’ 9 day Art Expedition Flinders Ranges departs Adelaide on 20 May 2020 and costs $3,395 per person. Price includes all meals, accommodation in unique Outback accommodation at the Moolooloo Station and at Mt Little Station, services of professional guides, all bedding and linen, private transport from Adelaide and artist easels and boards.

The expedition will be led by Michael Herron* long-time art teacher and artist, who has run art expeditions in conjunction with Australian adventure tour company, World Expeditions – and its domestic brand, Australian Walking Holidays, for almost 10 years.
For more information see: www.australianwalkingholidays.com.au

* About Michael Herron

Michael has been painting and drawing for 30 years and teaching at a Sydney gallery for more than 20 years. He won the 1988 ‘Sydney Morning Herald Travelling Art Scholarship’ and the Dyson Bequest from the Art Gallery of NSW, allowing him to paint at the Mora Dyring Studio at the Cite Internationale des Artes in Paris.

He has been involved in a number of solo and group shows including a solo show at First Draft Gallery in 1997. He exhibited at the Tim Olsen Gallery between 2005-2010, during which time his work was the subject of four solo exhibitions and numerous group shows. In 2010, Michael was invited to Exhibit in Kedumba Drawing Award. In 2011, he participated in the Taronga Zoo Artist in residence program and, in 2014, was included in the Rick Amor drawing prize in Ballarat. Michael has been hung for three consecutive years in the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize.
You can see examples of work from past expeditions at www.michaelherron.com.au

There is also a 7 day Artists Expedition Larapinta which departs Alice Springs on 18 September, 2020 and costs $3,195 per person twin share. Price includes all meals and accommodation in award winning eco campsites on the Larapinta Trail.
For more information see: www.australianwalkingholidays.com.au