The Papatowai Challenge 25 February 2012 - 5th Mar 2012

The 16th Papatowai Challenge 2012:

On Saturday the 25th of February Julie and I went to the Catlins in the South of the South Island of New Zealand  for Julie and her friends Jo Stodart and Margaret Jones to compete in the Papatowai Challenge.
This is a 15.5km walk or run in the beautiful coastal surroundings of Papatowai, approximately two hours South of Dunedin..
This was the 16th Papatowai Challenge and was Julie's sixth and Jo's fifth time to tackle this event which is a pre-season fun run and walk from the holiday home of Bev and Wayne Allen in the Catlins and is held annually.

A varied bush beach and hill course:

It begins outside the holiday home at the south end of Tahakopa River Bridge,crosses the bridge over the Tahakopa river, leads through native bush before emerging onto the beach for a refreshing beach walk or run before climbing a steep track to winding unsealed roads over the tops of the hills through farmland . The road then descends through native bush with tantalizing glimpses of the sea, the beach, and the finish. A gritty three kilometers on the flat along the riverside finally takes the exhausted competitor full circle back to the holiday home in Papatowai. 

Finishers rewarded for their effort:

The finishers and spectators then tuck in to well deserved platefuls of pancakes smothered in jam and cream, and hot saveloys from the pot doused in tomato sauce. Wayne and his sponsors then give out spot prizes to competitors and awards to placegetters.
We were happy to learn that our friend Margaret was the second placed walker, and Jo won a spot prize
The event on Saturday was notable in that it poured with rain soon after the start but this did nothing to deter the more than 400 competitors who saw it through to the finish, and the rain stopped before the festivities.

Ron presents a framed print to organizer Wayne:

At the prizegiving at the end of the event, Race Organizer Wayne was proud to display a framed print of Papatowai bridge that had been painted by Ron on a previous Papatowai Challenge.

Ron finds painting a less exhausting pursuit:

I had not been idle while the runners and walkers were battling the elements, I had taken my paints and brushes and completed a watercolour of Papatowai Beach between showers, "draw a line a day" as my Dad used to say.
All this meant that we were unable to hear The Arty Farty Hour on Otago Access Radio at 11AM, so for any of you who went to Papatowai or were otherwise unable to hear the programme, here is the link.

Video of Ron Esplin in his Art Gallery and Office in Dunedin - 24th Feb 2012

Ron explains where he is based and what he is about:.


Saddle Hill by Ron Esplin

Saddle Hill exhibition at Mosgiel Library:

Saddle Hill is the focus of an exhibition in Mosgiel in the last week of February on show at the Downes Room in The Mosgiel Library. Ron Esplin joins more than forty artists to pay tribute to the Saddle Hill landscape in the exhibition which is open from 1PM February 22, 23, and 24, and from 10AM to 11AM on Saturday 25 February. 

Well known artists represented:

As well as Ron Esplin are other other well known artists including  Heather Maxwell, Scott Drummond, Marie Bowden and Fay Mitchell who organized the event together with Marjorie Orr.

The majority of the artworks are for sale:

Entry is by a gold coin donation to cover some of the costs associated with mounting the event, and most of the works on display are available for the public to purchase.

Photo of page from "Learn World Calligraphy" - 1st Feb 2012

The photo referred to in the latest Newsletter can be accessed via this link. Apologies for the omission. Ron Esplin

American Calligraphy expe ... e artwork in her new book

American Calligraphy expert includes Ron Esplin tactile artwork in her new book - 27th Jan 2012

American Calligraphy expert includes Ron Esplin tactile artwork in her new book

Margaret Shepherd calligrapher and author:

Margaret Shepherd is a well-known calligrapher and author, whose many books have helped make calligraphy accessible to a large public worldwide. She has researched, taught, written, freelanced, and exhibited extensively. She lives in Boston, where she created the Boston Calligraphy Trail.

Discovers Ron Esplin's tactile art work while researching latest book:

 While researching her latest book, "Learn World Calligraphy", she came upon the websites of Ron Esplin and his blind wife Julie Woods. She was intrigued by the story of the collaboration of this couple to produce tactile art works that are accessible to both visually impaired and sighted viewers.

A page dedicated to Ron Esplin and Julie Woods collaboration:

As a result of contacting Ron she chose to devote a page to the work that he and Julie had produced together with illustrations of two of his pieces and narrative to explain the concept. 

New look Newsletter:

As you can see, the Newsletter has a new swept up look, and you can now share pictures such as the one included here of the page in the book "Learn World Calligraphy". The illustrations feature a tactile art work named "FOCUS" that combines the written word and the braille for the word. The other art work uses Julie's braille biscuits to spell the word "INSPIRED" which is surrounded by all the words that can be derived from the word inspired. Can you identify any that have been missed?

Another string to the bow of Julie Woods  "That Blind Woman":

Ron's wife, Julie is acknowledged for her contribution to the art work in the book, and referred to as "Blind artist and Culinary expert".....Go Julie!

Ron Esplin participates in an unusual commission of art - 17th Jan 2012

Ron Esplin participates in an unusual commission of art

U.S. authors find Esplin website and ask for Artworks:

The wonders of the World Wide Web have led to an unusual commission for me.
After finding examples of my work on the internet, the United States based authors of a children’s book commissioned me to paint several landscapes based on the Dunedin area.

Uno Mundo:

Entitled Uno Mundo (One World), the book will show the adventures of two young characters playing a game of Uno around the world. Authors Aliya Caler and Aviva Palmer have commissioned artists from places as diverse as Bali, Tunisia, Mongolia and Thailand to contribute images of their own countries. The characters — drawn by Kenya Von Zepplin — will be digitally overlaid.

NZ Esplin works now completed and dispatched:

The authors were pleased with my contribution, and asked me at first to add some characters of my own in the New Zealand section, and later requested that I design the final page of the book.

It has been a fascinating process, I have really enjoyed being part of it, and I have been honoured to participate. I now look forward to seeing the completed publication.

Celtic Art for Celtic Arts Festival - 9th Nov 2011

Celtic Art for Celtic Arts Festival Art works for the Celtic Arts Festival: 
The Organizing Committee of the recent bi-annual Celtic Arts Festival approached me to arrange art work to complement the activities they had planned over September and October. The result was a Celtic Theme that was adopted by the Otago Art Society for their exhibition at the Art Society galleries in the Art Station. This theme put artists on their mettle to produce art with a Celtic flavour, and the members rose to the occasion admirably. I personally met the challenge by producing a view of Edinburgh Castle impaled by a giant Celtic Cross and the title "Dun Eidyn"  referred to the Celtic stronghold that was the predecessor of the Edinburgh Castle we are all now familiar with. It takes little imagination to see the root of the name of our own City of Dunedin in the Celtic title.
Art formed a Celtic backdrop in the Community Gallery:
Running at the same time as the Art Society exhibition at the headquarters for the Celtic Arts Festival in the Community Gallery was an exhibition of Celtic art work by myself, Pauline Bellamy, Manu Berry, Marilyn Webb, Erin Anson, Heather Dunckley, Philip Madill, and sculptor John Kena.
These works struck an imposing backdrop to the varied musical events, workshops, and dance activities of the Celtic Arts Festival.
Celtic Arts Festival 2011 a success:
The Celtic Arts Festival was a successful celebration of things Celtic in Dunedin, and many musicians and enthusiasts descended on Dunedin from all points including many visitors who had come to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup.
Red Hot Chilli Pipers fill the Town Hall:
The celebrations ended uproariously with a show in the Dunedin Town Hall by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers who presented their unique amalgam of Celtic bagpipe music and Rock.

The Arty Farty Hour now on Otago Access Radio - 31st Oct 2011

Ron hosts the Arty Farty Hour on OAR 105.4FM The Arty Farty Hour hits the airwaves:
I am now hosting an hour long radio programme every second Saturday at 11AM on Otago Access Radio which broadcasts on 105.4FM. 
The Arty Farty Hour is a radio Programme of facts and fiction about Art and features local and international art topics.
So what are the contents of the Arty Farty Hour?
"Painting 101" is a  section on painting starting with watercolour
painting and continuing as a series from show to show. The first show looked at materials from brushes to paper and paint.
"Arty People" is a guest section featuring New Zealand Artists or people in the Art business. My guest on the second show was Andrew Cook from Artzone, a framing and art materials store in Hanover Street in Dunedin. Andrew had some surprising and interesting information to share about the make up of watercolour pigments, and also gave some hints and tips about framing.
 "The Art Clinic".provides an opportunity for listeners to email paintings to me for guidance and advice to be aired on the programme. Fay Mitchell was the first contributor with a fine watercolour of the Moeraki Boulders near Moeraki in North Otago.
 "Arty Facts". gives me an opportunity to talk about a famous artist, or art news. I enjoyed recounting the life and times of Van Gogh in the first programme for instance, a man that painted 900 paintings over a ten year period only to sell one painting in his lifetime.
Even the music is about Art:
In addition all the music played on the show has an art connection and what fun it is to look for these gems. "Vincent" by Don McLean was given an early airing, and "Mona Lisa" by Nat King Cole will take a turn some time in the future.
How can you join me on The Arty Farty Show?
Why don't you join me  on the Arty Farty Hour as I explore the world of art, digging up facts, busting a few myths, and talking with guests from a wide range of arts backgrounds. Just tune in to 105.4FM or use the link below to stream or hear a podcast.
Green Island Gallery are my sponsor for the show:
The Arty Farty Hour is kindly sponsored  by the Green Island Gallery at 194 Main South Road. The Green Island Gallery proudly supports the many local artists who make Green Island, Saddle Hill, Brighton and beyond such a vibrant hub of creativity.
An ever-changing range of original artworks, from paintings to carvings and pottery, are on display and available for sale at prices to suit all budgets.
They even run art classes for children and adults, fostering the next generation of budding Rembrandts.

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