Wendie Patch is a local artist and business owner. She is passionate about supporting creative people in the area by providing them with exhibition space, otherwise known as The Otherside Gallery.
How long have you lived in the Manning Great Lakes?
I came up to Taree for a party 19 years ago and fell in love with the area. I drove straight home to Blaxland and put my house on the market.
The new commercial ‘Unlock the Secrets’ is so spot on … we have it all: the best beaches, rivers, rainforests, bushland, farmland, cafés, galleries etc.
> You own and operate The Otherside Gallery Teahouse – it’s a beautiful spot out there. How did you begin this venture?
My husband Danny and I purchased the property at Ghinni Ghinni (Aboriginal for ‘plenty mud crab’) 8 years ago. The Pacific Highway runs through the middle. We have our home on one side and the business sits on the river’s edge on THE OTHER SIDE … hence the name. I had always dreamed of having my own gallery, and I’m so grateful that it has come true.
I feel so spoilt at times to have the gallery and can’t wait to hang my new paintings; they are usually wet, because I just can’t wait for them to dry to see them hanging on the wall.
We have also just acquired the old newsagency at Cundletown. That is now my new art studio, where I can work, make a mess and leave a mess, so to speak, shared with artists David Price from Forster, Betty Smith, my mother and Mrs. Shepherd. It’s great, and it keeps the gallery walls cleaner! The gallery upstairs is open now with more artwork – doubling for a classroom on Fridays with Sharon Tudor-Smith.
> What makes the space ideal for exhibitions, such as the one you are holding in December called The Odd the Curious and the Humble?
As I mentioned, I am pretty spoilt to have this gallery space; therefore I do like to share it with other artists as well – especially young, talented people like Mrs. Shepherd, Matthew Mallia and Tarryn Jade.
They have such a future, and I only wish I had their youth and ambition. It is a privilege to be part of it with them.
Being adjacent and visible to the Pacific Highway, we attract a lot of travellers and tourists. We are becoming a very popular destination and have a regular local clientele as well, which gives the artists some good exposure. I love talking to the customers about the art and artists, and I’m always happy to talk about commission portraits, of course.
> When did you discover that you were blessed with an artistic skill?
Firstly, I was blessed with an amazing, loving family, who have always given so much encouragement. The whole family has artistic ability: my mother, father, sister and brothers, our partners, children and grandchildren, so the answer to that question is ALWAYS!
I have always drawn and painted, but unfortunately didn’t get to study art and get my Diploma untiI I was in my forties. It’s never too late; I had the best time, being a mature age student.
> How would you describe the nature of your work? You tend to focus a lot on people.
I am mainly a portrait artist – that is where my passion is – but I enjoy landscape or still life as well. I love to draw and paint from life, but also from photographs. I am a keen photographer, who has my camera with me permanently. I also have a passion for old photographs and love to turn the humble photo into a piece of art.
To be hung in the Archibald is my main goal in life. I would die a happy woman, so I will enter every year.
> What and who inspires you?
I am inspired by all the artists and people around me; I see potential paintings everywhere I look. I am never stumped on what to paint, it is always about how quick I can get it on the canvas, as I get so excited and just can’t wait.
Jocelyn Maughan and Robin Norling were my teachers while studying at Meadowbank TAFE; their incredible enthusiasm and talent inspired me.
A trip to Italy in 2008 inspired me also, so of course artists like Michelangelo, Da Vinci … so many; too many.
I hope to be taking a group on an ART INSPIRATIONAL TOUR to Rome, Venice, Florence, and Umbria in June 2011 – only a small group and beginners welcome.
> Why should people come out to visit this month?
Well of course, to see the new exhibition, that opens on 10 Dec and runs until 9 January, but to enjoy the ambience of the beautiful riverside.
We have great coffee and speciality teas, a full menu to tantalise; we are only a short drive out of town, and it is worth the drive to be spoilt out at The Other Side.
Phone 6553 8890.