Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 381

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 394
isiiad - Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 326

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 339


Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn

Syd_Tunn_self_portrait_s

Syd Tunn ©  I Dips Me Lid. A self portrait  (detail)

There's magic in the air at Bend of Islands, just north of Warrandyte. The magicians responsible are artists Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn. Married for over thirty years, they work there together in their enormous studio in the bush.  Between the two of them, they've created a place and space where their art can flourish. They built the studio themselves.  Ona proudly tells me she built the floor and Syd the roof.  Rustic, warm wood throughout. Surfaces covered with completed and unfinished work, equipment and treasures gathered from the nearby bush.

SynOna_2_s

They are each muse for the other.  Encouraging and nurturing in words and gestures.  That's where the magic really kicked in.  As their guest, I was briefly bathed in that encouragement and nurturance. I started to believe that any creative idea I've ever had might just work...that it was at least worth a try.

If the essential ingredient for creativity is an ability for playfulness, Syd and Ona have perfected that one. There was great hilarity during the photo shoot with Syd donning a hat here and pair of sun glasses there.

Syd_Tunn_2_s

Syd_Tunn_1_s

From photographs on the wall of the studio. (above)

Syd_throwing_hat_s

As a good friend of Deborah Halpern, Syd painted this portrait which appeared in The Archibald Salon some years ago.  All the Deb 'references' are there... mosaic, Angel, ceramics and of course a love of wild colour. The two panels in the second photo hinge on each side of the central panel, like the wings of an angel. When Deb sat for this portrait, Syd used a light with green cellophane over it to get this gorgeous green light on her skin.

Syd_Tunn_Deb_Halpern_2_s

Portrait by Syd Tunn ©

Syd_Tunn_Deb_Halpern_3_s

Portrait by Syd Tunn ©

Syd_Tunn_painting_s

Work by Syd Tunn ©

Syd_Tunn_Waratah_s

Syd Tunn © Waratah

This beautiful portrait of Syd by Ona (below) describes their love story.   Here's what Ona says about it...

To see a face reflected in a pool of water is a mysterious way to paint my husband's portrait, but it's a mysterious relationship. We are literally an upside down partnership of  complements, skills, personalities and roles - personally and professionally.

Ona_Henderson_Syd_2_s

Ona Henderson © Answers in the Mirror Pool Acrylic on canvas 143x92cm

You get a flavour of Ona's playfulness from this print of a portrait for the Archibald (below) by Eliza Darby © .  For her fiftieth birthday, Ona dressed up as Carmen...

Ona_Henderson_50th_bday_s

Ona's preoccupation with the environment is evident in all of her work.  Living at Bend of Islands provides a plethora of inspiration.  In the studio, there's a glass cabinet which holds precious natural objects collected locally and in other places.  Curly leaves, lace leaves, long leaves, all have a collection point within the cabinet. (Nests are a recurring theme for me at the moment.)

Ona_Henderson_2_s

Ona_Henderson_4_s

Ona_Henderson_3_s

Ona_Henderson_5_s

Ona_Henderson_work_2_s

Work by Ona Henderson © 

Ona_Henderson_work_s

Work by Ona Henderson ©

Ona_Henderson_in_Studio_2_s

The three of us chatted and laughed and chatted some more for several hours.  At one point Ona told me the gut wrenching stories of loss during the Black Saturday fires. The tales were so affecting that I struggled to maintain my composure.  It's a recurrent theme within the arts community up here.  The wounds are deep. Efforts to heal those wounds through art have led to some wonderful projects.  Ona was involved in the Nillumbik Shire's exhibition, Symbols of Loss and Recovery.  Click on this link to view a documentary about the exhibition featuring Ona and Nillumbik Shire's Arts and Culture co- ordinator Irene Pagram.

A love of their community coupled with a deep commitment to serve that community has seen them participate in many projects, both big and small.  A history of Montsalvat, Dunmoochin and the Butterfly Studio will record their generous input. Ona and Syd have been leading lights in the Nillumbik Open Studio's Program since it's beginnings more than twenty years ago. Twice a year they welcome hundreds of art lovers into their studio.  If you missed them earlier this year, the November opening dates are 19th, 20th, 26th and 27th.

SydOna_studio_2_s

This Michael Leunig cartoon sits in a prominent place within the studio.  It pretty much sums up my experience there.

OnaSyd_Leunig_s

Still under the Syd and Ona spell, I set off through the bush back to Warrandyte. On the way, I needed to stop the car for a phone call, so headed for a driveway to get off the road. A great big old kangaroo was standing like a sentry at the beginning of the driveway.  He didn't move a muscle until I'd completely pulled in very close to him.  He turned around and in one bound effortlessly cleared the fence.  I watched him until he disappeared out of view... enjoying the moment. I realised the phone had stopped and I'd missed the call. I just sat in the car amazed by my own good fortune to be surrounded by such loveliness. Sadly, the phone rang again, this time I managed to answer it....the spell was broken.

Parent Category: Arts
Facebook Image

Mirranda Burton

Mirranda Burton Mirranda Burton© Bird Brain If you're a regular Isiiad reader you couldn't have missed the fact that this weekend marks the beginning of the Nillumbik Artist's… More…

Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Awards-2

Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Award Camilla TADICH©, 6.23am Kangaroo Ground 2009, oil on canvas, 94.5cm. x 125cm. framed. "Ekphrasis is a genre of poetry that explores works of art… More…

Lorenna Grant-Artist in Residence at Laughing Waters.

Lorenna Grant- Artist in Residence at Laughing Waters I really want to convey the experience that I had visiting Lorenna Grant. She's the latest Artist in Residence at Laughing… More…

Red Chair, Arts and Artists

Red Chair Photograph by Kerry Cross "Red Chair" is a series of artists talks held at 7.00pm. on the first Wednesday of every month in The Barn at Montsalvat. It's an initiative of… More…

Margaret Summerton

Margaret Summerton Phew...what a woman...energetic, smart as paint, extremely personable and an artist too. Five minutes with Margaret Summerton and I understood why she is the… More…

Ev Hales-A Work in Progress

Ev Hales-A Work in Progress Yesterday saw the launch of Ev Hales eagerly anticipated, self published book "A Work in Progress". As the name suggests, it illuminates the process… More…

Work in Progress

Work in Progress I'm working on a doozy of a blog today. I visited the studio of Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn yesterday. It's one of those blogs where the difficulty has been in… More…

Bountiful Birrarung Dinner

Bountiful Birrarung Dinner Now I’m in love with the Eltham Library. I sit in the section that stores house and cooking magazines in glass cabinets…reminding me of how clever we… More…

Ev Hales-Static Motion

Ev Hales-Static Motion I sometimes worry that there's something wrong with me. I get so excited by the artwork that I've seen that I can't stop thinking about it...Perhaps I need… More…

Nillumbik Artists Open Studios-Nerina Lascelles

Nillumbik Artists Open Studios- Nerina Lascelles Last evening I travelled down to Mt Eliza for a preview of Nerina's latest exhibition at Manyung Gallery. Her work is very Zen,… More…

Expanding Dimensions

Expanding Dimensions (Photograph of 'Expanding Dimension' on the balustrade of the Roystead Building- copyright Silvi Glattauer) Remember Lloyd Godman, ecological artist.… More…

Life Drawing at Dunmoochin

Life Drawing At Dunmoochin Artists have been drawing naked bodies since they could make marks. Over the centuries, fascination with curves and body parts has often turned into… More…

The Essence of Nerina

The Essence of Nerina Nerina Lascelles exhibition "Seizui- Essence" opened at Montsalvat at the beginning of this month. In excess of one hundred people enjoyed Montsalvat's… More…

Light Factory Gallery-Eltham

I've heard about the Light Factory Gallery from so many people and in so many places. I can't believe it's taken me so long to get there. Today was the day. The building is great.… More…

The Chook Project

The Chook Project Photograph courtesy of Barbara Joyce. Today is the Third Anniversary of the Black Saturday Fires. I want to mark the event with a story that has in turn, made me… More…

Dunmoochin Opening

Dunmoochin Opening Dunmoochin was alive with people and the paintings of Barbara Hauser on the weekend. Shane Pugh (Clifton Pugh's son) and Barbara, celebrated the opening below.… More…

Hugh McSpedden

Tripping the Light Fantastic with Hugh McSpedden Well not tripping exactly or even dancing for that matter, but "light fantastic", without a doubt. The exterior of St Andrews Hall… More…

Stephanie Mew (2)

Stephanie Mew (2) I've come across a great publication, "Creative Spaces. 21 Years of Nillumbik Artists Open Studios." If you can get your hands on a copy before you see the… More…

Kate Hudson- Fourfold

Kate Hudson- Fourfold Thankfully, The Light Factory Gallery is back in business after experiencing significant damage during the heavy rain at Christmas time. Their latest… More…

Ev Hales

Ev Hales Informal and formal patterns. I've been seeing them everywhere since I visited Ev Hales at her Hurstbridge studio. She's fascinated by them...See the pattern in the floor… More…

Copyright

THIS ENTIRE SITE © 2010-2012 ISIIAD. ALL OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND WRITTEN MATERIAL HEREIN, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE COPYRIGHTED BY ISIIAD. NO PART OF THIS SITE, OR ANY OF THE CONTENT CONTAINED HEREIN, MAY BE USED OR REPRODUCED IN ANY MANNER WHATSOEVER WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.