Ron Esplin leads an Artists Island Retreat St Martins Island - 16th Jul 2010

Ron Esplin leads an Artists Island Retreat St Martins Island

Superb Morning

(Check out the photos in the gallery)
At 10AM on a superb Saturday morning on the weekend of 8 May, twelve artists gathered at the Portobello aquarium half an hour from Dunedin in Otago Harbour. We were to meet the boat to transport our art gear, sleeping bags, overnight bags and ourselves across to Quarantine Island, otherwise known as St Martins Island.

Not without incident:

All baggage was trolleyed to the wharf down a narrow path at the waters edge. The inevitable happened, and a sleeping bag ended in the water to begin our incident packed two days.
Two giant launches moored at the wharf proved not to be our transport, as the putt putt of a tiny outboard on a tiny boat driven by the island caretaker, Graeme Furness, approached and sidled up to the wharf. Four trips backwards and forwards had us gathered at the homestead for a briefing, then we sorted out our sleeping arrangements.

On with the art works:

Without further ado we all went on a familiarisation walk around the island and within an hour artists were scattered around various vantage points painting the spectacular harbour views. By late afternoon it started to get cold and artists straggled in to gather for a drink around the blazing space heater that Graham had lit.

A good old fashioned sing song:

A pot luck dinner was followed by a good old fashioned sing song when we discovered that our two guitars and lusty voices were joined by Graeme's two guitars and he and his partner combined their musical abilities.
The Sunday morning dawned calm, still, and fresh. Rachel, still in her pyjamas and barefoot took her cup of tea and went for a stroll up the grassy paddock behind the homestead, and three of us followed with our coffees.

Another incident:

Separated briefly, we were alarmed to hear a shriek from Rachel's direction. She had slipped on the grass, and we were later to find she had broken her ankle, and sustained a spiral fracture of her fibula. What to do? Get a helicopter? Graeme took the initiative and phoned St John Ambulance. We made Rachel as comfortable as we could and half an hour later when the ambulance arrived, the two ambulance officers were transported out in the tiny boat, and after a precarious stretcher back to the wharf, Rachel was whisked off to Dunedin Hospital.

Show and tell of art works:

After that excitement we went back to our painting until we gathered for lunch and a "Show and Tell" before heading back to Dunedin.
We all agreed that this was an event to be repeated, and even Rachel who has been recuperating for two months, is keen to do it again. Indomitable!

Kamau Taurua is the largest island in Otago Harbour, close to the city of Dunedin, New Zealand.
The island covers an area of 15 hectares, and is mainly a publicly accessible recreation reserve. 
The island served as the quarantine station for Otago from 1863 until 1924. When ships arrived in Otago harbour with infectious diseases, the passengers were sent to Quarantine Island until they were well or died. There is a small cemetery on the island.
Only one of the quarantine buildings from these years is still standing, and this has currently begun to be restored. After the quarantine station closed the island was leased by St Martin Island Community, established in 1958, and the remainder jointly managed by the Department of Conservation and the Community. 

Ron Esplin makes a special offer for Esplin book, Tom and Edith's Creative Journey - 15th Jul 2010

Ron Esplin makes a special offer for Esplin book, Tom and Edith's Creative Journey Extra special book offer:
Now is your chance to own or purchase as a present for somebody special, the beautifully produced "ESPLIN" book that tells the remarkable love story of an artist and a writer. Their work is melded together in a heartwarming travelogue that will transport you back to all your favourite European destinations.
Enjoy the journey:
Share in this readable intimate journey that can be read a bit at a time, or in one sitting. An incomparable coffee table book or a "snuggle up" bedtime story. Size 277mm x 212mm 175 pages. NZ $40 (Was NZ $60.00)

Ron Esplin Tactile Art Work Chosen for new book "Calligraphy All Over The World" - 6th Apr 2010

Ron Esplin Tactile Art Work Chosen for new book "Calligraphy All Over The World"
Margaret Shepherd has chosen to include Ron Esplin Tactile Art work in her upcoming book, "Calligraphy All over the World"

Ms Shepherd is currently writing Calligraphy All Over the World, for publication September 2011 by Watson Guptill, a division of RandomHouse.

 Margaret Shepherd
Margaret Shepherd is a well-known calligrapher and author. Her 16 published books have helped make calligraphy accessible to a large public worldwide, and have advocated written correspondence. She has researched, taught, written, freelanced, and exhibited extensively. She created the Boston Calligraphy Trail. For years she also delivered an annual standing-room-only talk on handwritten notes in business at the MIT Sloan School, and gave the 2006 commencement address at MIT’s “Charm School.” The Art of the Personal Letter is her most recent book. She has studied Arabic calligraphy in Uzbekistan and Chinese painting in Vietnam, and taken lessons in Chinese, hieroglyphics, and Greek. She lives and works in Boston’s historic Back Bay neighborhood.

Ms Shepherd’s 45-year career as a freelancer has ranged from lettering thousands of MIT diplomas, and restoring ceiling inscriptions in classical Greek at Boston College, to creating honorary degrees and scrolls of retirement, and designing a signature logo for chef Jacques Pepin. She has consulted in industry on the design of a calligraphy preservation spray. In her role as an authority on the written letter she has been quoted in Newsweek, and drawn by Hirschfeld; she was featured in a TV news magazine segment on Channel 5 Chronicle, interviewed by Liz Walker, twice profiled at length in the Boston Globe, covered online by Christian Science Monitor and Publishers Weekly, and interviewed by Lisa Mullins for “The World” on National Public Radio at WGBH and by Lisa Simeone for “Weekend Edition.” Kiplinger Personal Finance interviewed her at length in May 2003 for their regular feature, “Shop with the Expert,” about how to choose a fountain pen. Her most recent book was reviewed by Janet Maslin in the New York Times.

Margaret Shepherd

Ron Esplin Painting of the month - 1st Dec 2009

Ron Esplin Painting of the month Painting of the month:
My choice of painting of the month, CHINESE GARDEN, this feature in Dunedin is enjoying popularity with residents and visitors to Dunedin. It is the most authentic Chinese Garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Unframed size 254 x 200mm. Price NZ 380.

Free Ron Esplin fine art print with Julie Woods inspiring book - 1st Dec 2009

Free Ron Esplin fine art print with Julie Woods inspiring book "How to make a silver lining":
My partner Julie has published a book entitled “How to make a Silver Lining” and subtitled “From hospital waiting room to 10 years blind party”
In the book she outlines “8 keys for adapting to extraordinary change”, keys that you can adopt to alter your life for the better, and achieve the goals that you desire.
Julie's vision:
In her own words;  “My vision is to help ordinary people adapt to extraordinary change and in the process make them unstoppable. My first step towards doing this is to self publish my book "How to Make a Silver Lining" in which I identify 8 keys for adapting to extraordinary change. I discovered these 8 keys in my first 10 years as a blind person and now I want to share them with the world.
If you’d like to order a copy of my book you can do so through the products section of my web site."
Special offer:
"The book is $29.95 with free postage anywhere in the world! Plus – the special offer is that your book will be accompanied by a hot pink A4 sized print of a water colour painted by my partner Ron Esplin"
Cooking without looking:
At the launch of the book an acrylic entitled "Pink Gerbera" was auctioned and fetched $360 that went towards the establishment of a "Cooking without looking" Trust with the object of getting blind people into their kitchen. So visit her website at to learn more, order a book and take up the special offer.

Ron Esplin led Arty Farty Party Art Symposium is a resounding success - 21st Oct 2009

Marama Lodge in Lawrence was a great venue 

The Arty Farty Party weekend in Lawrence over three days was a resounding success, everybody turned up for the barbecue on Friday night, although the last couple did not arrive until around 9.30PM.

Cold but productive

The weather was cold on the Saturday, but most of the artists stayed indoors and painted, later when the weather improved 2 or 3 of us ventured outdoors. Most of us completed about three paintings apiece, and a fine rain added some beautiful effects to the watercolours.

Dinner on the Saturday night

We had twelve at the dinner on Saturday night prepared by our hosts Marie and Dennis Kean who joined us at dinner, and the event was great fun for the twelve of us, we had taken musical instruments to the weekend and had a rousing party, with lots of music although the words were often a bit vague.

Show and tell

We set up our work in the church in the grounds of Marama Lodge on the Sunday morning. About thirty people came through to meet us and look at the paintings, three paintings were sold, plus a print, and a number of books so we all headed home feeling that we had enjoyed an event that must be repeated. To that end we have booked to do it again about the same time of year next year so we will keep you posted.


Art Farty Party at Lawrence in October - 2nd Oct 2009

Art Farty Party at Lawrence in October  Come and join us in picturesque Lawrence on the weekend of 17 and 18 October, arrive on Friday night for a barbecue, then awake to a day of plein air painting on the Saturday followed by a sumptious home cooked country dinner in convivial surroundings and company. The weekend ends with a chance to display and sell your artistic efforts in the church that sits in the grounds of Marama Lodge.

Here are the details:

Friday 16th. BBQ 5 PM on. BYO food & drink.
Saturday 17th. Painting through the day followed by Dinner at night.
Sunday 18th. exhibition at Church Hall.
Work available for purchase by the public.
(this can include completed work that you may bring with you)
Contact: Ron Esplin Home: 03 467 2164. Mobile: 021 358 082

Art classes with Ron Esplin at his studio - 27th Sep 2009

Art classes with Ron Esplin at his studio Art classes: 
I am still running classes in my "downtown" studio. Five enthusiastic ladies are enjoying creating beautiful watercolours, and the atmosphere is one of excitement every Monday night for the two hours of the class.

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