Owners of SOULitude farmstay in Hannam Vale and talented creatives Dave Byrne and Beth Clarke have their beautiful surroundings to inspire them. Dave and Beth have produced some striking photographs and paintings respectively, and they’re just a couple of the skilled artists who’ll be presenting work in this year’s Art in the Vale exhibition…
Hi David and Beth. Please introduce yourselves to our readers, and share with us a little about what brought you to the Hannam Vale area.
Beth – I remember sitting at my girlfriend’s farm at Moorland, where I retired my horse, looking out across her magnificent views of the Brother Mountains, having some sips and thinking, “Wow, I’d love to explore over there!” We began the journey and truly fell in love with the valley.
When SOULitude came up for sale, we were all over it like a rash, as we had admired it previously before it came up for sale. We have owned it for six and a half years now and love the people – some whom are our closest friends.
Dave – Beth and I have been, I guess, travellers in life, who were initially on separate journeys who came together later in life. I think we’re both fun loving and lovers of life in general. But don’t worry, we do have our serious side, but in the big scheme of things we find an absolute joy in just being on this small planet. Why did I find Hannam Vale such a connection? Because I have always been in one way or another connected to the country, the outdoors (and the ocean). The Valley is one of the most special places between, say, Noosa and Tasmania. Being close to everything I cherish, it has definitely felt like I have finally found home.
Where/how did you both begin your individual passions for art and photography?
Beth – I’ve always had a passion for art and started painting at school and art retreats in Bathurst, Orange, the Central Coast. I have a little studio, which I call the Tardis. I truly love it, as you get totally immersed and time just slips away. I think this happens when you are truly passionate about something.
Dave – Having an outdoor childhood was great, but spending my adulthood working firstly in civil engineering and later technology consulting, I essentially lived in a technical world. During my mid 30s I discovered a strong yearning and some unrealised passions; my photographic images plus also cooking and playing with flavour palettes have definitely become my right brain outlets.
What subjects most inspire each of you to create?
Beth – I’m inspired by so many things, but I would have to say the main thing is nature, and especially animals.
Dave – Appreciating life’s energy the way that Beth and I do, it’s probably natural that every small nuance of the day’s cycle can potentially capture our interest. From the change of seasons and extremes of weather, the surf and ocean are always front of mind. For me, photography is simply painting with light, and the interaction of how light affects the different parts of our lives is critical. It can definitely distil and capture something into a pure and somewhat focused moment.
What acknowledgements/recognition have each of you received for your artistic achievements?
Beth – I have been lucky enough to sell quite a few of my artworks via commissions. I have also displayed them in cafés, and they can be found on display also at SOULitude Farmstay, which in itself has generated several commissions.
Dave – I’ve been fortunate to have had images of my own featured in joint exhibitions held at the Australian Centre for Photography. I’ve also had a couple of awards from online global photographic groups “Photo of the Day” over the years. Other than that, I tend to scoot under the radar mostly, compared to my beautiful partner in crime.
You mentioned you own the beautiful farmstay in Hannam Vale, called SOULitude. Tell us a bit about this property and what you can offer guests.
Beth – SOULitude is a truly magical place … Somewhere where you can really connect with nature, chillax and just spend good family quality time.
Dave – Well for us, it’s just Heaven on Earth. The uber green rolling hills, the bush, the rainforest … This place represents just some of the best moments in a lifetime.
As to “What guests can expect?” Here’s what the wider media who have discovered us in the last few years have said.
Sunday Telegraph, Sydney full page article – “We were desperately in need of a bit of peace after a tough month, SOULitude didn’t disappoint”.
Fairfax National Syndicated – “An altogether refined country squire experience”.
Bed Nest Blog (featured – Home Beautiful, Vogue Living and House & Garden) – “The best holiday I think we’ve ever had as a family of 5”.
You’ll both be displaying work in the popular Art in the Vale exhibition this year. Describe some of the pieces you’ll have on display?
Beth – I will have my massive Kelpie red dog for sale. Hoping some Kelpie lovers like him! I will also have a gorgeous painting of a Ewe and a little landscape.
1 B&W Portrait – Sleeping – a study of tranquility
2 B&W Landscape – Main Ranges Kosczi – Brutal & Beautiful
3 Colour – Winter Ice Cylinder Byron – A favourite place.
How much does it mean to be able to showcase your work in a local exhibition such as Art in the Vale?
Beth – We feel truly blessed to be able to showcase some of our work. It is a very popular exhibition locally and in the region, and we are both just thrilled to bits to participate.
Dave – Ditto Beth.
Where can we find out more about you – including seeing samples of your work?
Beth – Local cafés, such as Hannam Vale. People can hop on to our Facebook Page “SOULitude Farmstay” and see some of my latest pieces; you can also find out a bit more about the farm and see what Dave and I have been up to. Please message us on the SOULitude FB page if you are interested in commissioning a painting. We are also on Stayz website property id #26220; hopefully we’ll see you soon.
Dave – Instagram @burnervision
See the 5th Annual Art in the Vale exhibition at the Hannam Vale Hall, 1205 Hannam Vale Road. The exhibition is a fundraiser for this important community building.
Opening Night – Friday 28th April 2017 – from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
Official Opening at 7:30 pm by The Hon. Stuart Fowler, AM.
$8 per head, includes refreshments and lucky door prize entry.
Exhibition – Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th April 2017 – from 10am to 4pm.
Entry by gold coin donation.
If you are an exhibiting artist and would like the opportunity to display your work, or just an art lover interested in attending the opening night, please contact Jocelyn Strong on (02) 6556 7796 or firstname.lastname@example.org for details.