Coochie Mangrove Lorna Johnstone, watercolour 2004

Coochie Mangrove
Lorna Johnstone, watercolour 2004

The Coochie Art Group was founded in 1972 by Charles Barnett. Bob, as he was affectionately known, was an artist of some distinction and taught an enthusiastic group of students on Coochiemudlo Island for a number of years. We first began painting on the island at Pullen Hall and later at Eliott Hall, which is now known as the Community Hall.  Eliott Hall was constructed by volunteer local labour in 1973 and extended by the Redland Shire Council in 1991.  The group has flourished under a variety of excellent tutors. Our members are enthusiastic and classes are well attended.

The group works well together as a team to produce our Annual Art Exhibition and the profit from this event together with term fees has, so far, kept the group sufficiently financial.

Coastwatcher Gillian Rich, acrylic 2004 Photo courtesy Bayside Bulletin

Gillian Rich, acrylic 2004

The first exhibition of the Coochie Art Group was held amongst the trees on the Coochiemudlo Island foreshore. It was obviously not an ideal situation with the threat of rain and high winds.

Over the years the exhibitions have been held in various places in Cleveland. Our preference was always the Council Chambers, being in the centre of Cleveland, and when we heard news of the Redland Art Gallery we were quick to secure our spot as regular annual exhibitors. We are very grateful to the Council and the Gallery for this venue and hope to be able to continue to exhibit in the Gallery.  We have also been fortunate to hold exhibitions at the Redland Museum, and less formally, in the local shopping centres. We try to keep the public informed of all our exhibits with regular updates in the local newspaper, so watch for forthcoming events.

We are a friendly, happy and co-operative group from diverse backgrounds with a common interest in art. Artistic talent is not a pre-requisite to being a Coochie Art Group member.
However we do expect our members to be fully involved in the group, to attend classes as much as they can and participate in meetings and activities such as the Annual Art Exhibition. We also encourage our members to be supportive of each other, to encourage and motivate each other in their

Friends of Coochie 1 Hilary Wakeling, acrylic 2004

Friends of Coochie 1
Hilary Wakeling, acrylic 2004

art endeavours, and be supportive of members in their home life when the need arises.

The Coochie Art Group feels very fortunate to have had many excellent tutors who have not only divulged their own individual painting techniques, but have inspired us to step out of our comfort zones and explore new avenues of looking at subjects and new ways of expressing ourselves and our emotions. We are especially grateful to Donald James Waters, who tutored the

group for many years, and was always very helpful and encouraging. Tutoring has included exciting acrylics with Jenni Kelly, Jane James, Kylie Farrelly, wonderful watercolour with Jan Lawnikanis, Annette Raff, Cees Sleidrecht, John Lovett, Malcolm Beattie, as well as pastel with Louise Corke, Penny Gilbert-Ng, Lyn Dieffenbach, pen & wash and mixed media, with Tricia Reust, to name just a few.

Our first interstate tutor was Robert Wade, from Melbourne. We now run several two-day workshops throughout the year with selected tutors who are well respected in the art world. These outstanding tutors have included Greg Allen, Alvaro Castagnet, Colley and Todd Whisson, Jenny McNaughton and many others. We have had many happy times on our annual ‘Away Workshops’, visiting various places in South East Queensland, with tutors such as Brian Allison, John Lovett and Lyn Butchart. Now named our Annual Art Retreat, we enjoy the freedom to work on our own creations, for the week.

 Photos Courtesy Bayside Bulletin

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