Australia Day with Sally West – The Bondi Beach Series

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  • By: Kerry-Anne Blanket
  • Sunday 27th January 2019
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This weekend we celebrated Australia Day (26.1.19), and I spent the day at Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach with Sally West on another painting day. After some careful planning and organisation well in advance, the paint-out was confirmed in the early hours of the morning after receiving the day’s perfect weather report. Wind, tidal timing, midday temperature highs and afternoon lows all came into consideration before we even turned on the car engines – and we were so lucky that conditions were set for perfection! We couldn’t plan the exact location as we expected access and parking to be a challenge on Australia Day, but in the end it worked well with a great position on the edge of Campbell Parade on the Northern end of Bondi Beach.

 

 

Sally West loves Bondi Beach and it’s the perfect place for her to paint en plein air – painting in the outdoors on location. This is an art method that Sally West works to fine tune as she adapts to exciting new coastal locations, viewpoints and weather conditions. “Bondi is perfect” she says. “The view from all access points is fantastic and the movement of crowds, surf conditions and atmosphere provides endless material for me to work with”. 

 

Sally West’s incredible abstract texture – up close

 

Sally regularly heads to the iconic Freshwater (colloquially referred to as  “Freshy”), Manly, Terrigal, Coogee, Tamarama, Maroubra, Blueys and Queenscliff Headland to paint. However it was Bondi that made for a sensational Australia Day paint-out this year! 

While the day didn’t come without certain challenges – for example an unexpected gust of wind blowing the canvas off the easel, but more on that later – it was a wonderful day and we met hundreds of people all in awe of her abstract impressionist style. Crowds came from all over Bondi wanting to find themselves captured in the painting and taking delight in seeing the incredible texture up close. Phone cameras were focused on Sally from all angles and even professional photographers were approaching us for a special photograph – kind of ironic that they wanted to capture the painting that captured the Australia Day view in front of us!

 

Sally West and I stop to angle our own Australia Day photo

 

While Sally grew up in rural NSW, she has since become more of a beach girl residing on he beautiful east coast of NSW. Her work days are spent on the waters edge with her paint and her spare time is filled with visits to the beach with her daughters.

You may also be familiar with her famous Beach Girl series – Check them all out here

Over the past few summers Sally has been visiting various other beaches to develop the beach series into the amazing body of work it has become. She says “I love painting the various coastal aspects, it’s been a fun challenge”. 

 

Sally West up high painting on the cliffs edge in 2017. The birds-eye view is vital for her beach series

 

Due to the meticulous planning the day progressed almost exactly as expected, just like each of the painting days I have been lucky enough to attend with Sally West in the past. Only one issue occurred, when just after lunchtime an unexpectedly large gust of wind blew Sally’s canvas right off her easel! As luck would have it the canvas filled with wet paint didn’t actually fall to the grass, but instead fell directly onto Sally’s back. It takes a very talented artist to not only regain their composure to keep painting afterwards, but to also fix the resulting smudged wet paint. In hindsight, what felt like a big disappointment at the time, I really think this adds so much history and heart to the artwork. Knowing that her imprint is within the work (although now unrecognisable) really personalises and humanises the piece. It’s almost like a very special signature hidden deep within the work, which only the purchaser and Sally will know about.

To prevent more canvas falls we quickly moved the easel a few meters to a lamp post. There we secured the canvas tightly around the easel back and post with occy straps. 

The imprint of Sally West in the wet painting

Sally worked tirelessly to complete the paintings in each sitting and didn’t pause at all throughout the day. Completion was vital! 

It was a treat to watch her artworks take shape – from the initial colour blocked areas of sand and water to the final SW being etched into the lower right hand corner of the canvas paint. It was also wonderful to see the reactions from people who had stopped to say hello in the early part of the day and then again at the end to view the final result. Everyone loved it and viewed the finished art with awe!

 

Sally West initialing a 25x25cm surf study created at the very end of the day
Bondi Beach NSW
Australia Day – Bondi Beach 1 (26.1.19) – Plein Air Oil on Canvas 75x75cm
Sally West has customised her car so that wet paintings can be transported safely back to the studio for months of drying

This popular series has been loved and viewed across various social media platforms for several years now, attracting international attention from the world’s top stylists and interior designers (even Harpers Bazaar (Korea), Brittish Vogue have expressed admiration with features). Sally has also become a source of inspiration for artists of all kinds spread throughout the world. School students in Korea are learning and recreating her style as part of their art class, cake artists in Australia, UK and USA have recreated her signature style in icing on cakes, and of course somewhat sadly there are also some artists from as far afield as USA, Estonia, and Russia who are awkwardly using her style in their studio for their own. Sally loves to see how she has inspired others, but when buying an artwork it’s vitally important to choose the original and best version rather than an awkward homage. By purchasing your art at KAB Gallery you can trust it is the real deal! All of the paintings are meticulously catalogued through the gallery and knowing that the Beach Series is exclusive to KAB Gallery makes it even easier for you to confidently purchase.

 

Cake inspired by Sally West’s Beach Series
by Sweet Heather Anne USA 2017

 

 

Sally’s work has become the must-have item for any contemporary interior. You can purchase Sally West’s beach studies online here at www.KABGallery.com, and the KAB Gallery team will package and send your artwork with the most delicate of care. Easy domestic and international shipping options area available through the online checkout, or alternatively you can call the Gallery on 1300 78 7773 (from within Australia) or +612 4312 5114 (from overseas) for further information.

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Sally West is a major Australian and International prize winning artist. 2019 is sure to be another great year of prize wins for Sally West, with additional commendations and finalist positions too. She is an Australian treasure who is internationally collected. 

 

 

Kerry-Anne Blanket, Director & Curator - KAB Gallery
About the author

Kerry-Anne Blanket

Director & Curator - KAB Gallery

KAB Gallery’s Kerry-Anne Blanket holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts and two Masters degrees (Hons) from the University of Sydney. With an extensive career in art education along with the management of museums and investment art galleries, Kerry-Anne can offer premier art consulting to her clients and source specially requested works. 

She has a keen eye for detail, comprehensive art market knowledge and a love of all things beautiful. Kerry-Anne works directly with artists and collectors alike to curate interesting and eclectic exhibitions.