Reports: 2014-15

Central Australian Art Society (CAAS) AGM

Saturday 16th May 2015-04-29

President’s Report

Good afternoon everyone and thank you for attending the Central Australian Art Society’s 2015 AGM. My name is Ron Talbot and I’m the president of CAAS. I’d like to take you through some of the highlights of the past year and spend a little time talking about the future.

Buildings and Grounds

Generally the Shed seems to be holding up well. We do have a problem with storage but we are seeking funding to build a storage shed out the back.

The gardens are doing well thanks to committee member Bev and we are in the process of repainting our sign outside.


CAAS continues to use the website blog as the primary communication tool. Automatic emails are generated for upcoming events for members & friends that have registered on the website. We currently we have 417 Facebook followers. Through Facebook we are generating two-way communication. The more the user comments, and SHARE our posts the more people in their circle learn of our activities and what we offer. Direct emails are used for issues that do not need a website presence. We are aware that over contacting people is both annoying and often counter productive. There is also the tension between advising people too early, to have them forget, or to advise too late with the obvious consequences. This is where Facebook fills that void.
Member Carol Adams has been very active by developing a “What’s On at the Shed” page on our blog plus a “What’s On” poster that has been distributed to key places around Alice Springs. Many thanks to Carol.

Art Shed Activities

  • Workshops

Carol Adam’s held watercolour workshop on the 19 October 2014, which was excellent and well attended by some very satisfied students, including myself. This is the sort of activity that we should strive to provide given the great facilities here and the obvious enthusiasm shown by the community.

  • Life Drawing

CAAS holds regular Life Drawing sessions on Saturday afternoons and a long pose session on most Wednesday nights.

Life Drawing continues on its usual cycle of peaks and troughs depending on both model availability and sufficient artist interest. Some members enjoy the Wednesday night sessions with just the one pose in order to undertake more substantial works. This has created a significant increase of serious artistic output with some wonderful works being produced. Our walls have some samples of these together with a few plein air pieces.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thanks Mark Wilson for his dedication towards this CAAS activity. He truly has gone well beyond the call of duty here.

  • Art Shed Exhibitions

School Exhibition: We attempted to engage with a number of secondary schools around Alice Springs in order to hold a student art exhibition at the Shed. Unfortunately had to cancel the planned 2014 exhibition due to the difficulty of trying to coordinate between some very busy teachers. However, we are currently taking a different approach by trying to see if schools are interested in displaying Alice Springs students work that is part of the NT School “Exit Art” programme.

Pop Up Exhibitions: We are open to providing the occasional Pop Up exhibition at the Art Shed (similar to the one recently held by member Bevil Staley). These more spontaneous events will hopefully prove more popular with members and friends.

Prisoners Art Exhibition: We are in discussions with Rob Steer (Executive Director, Correctional Operations) over the possibility of holding an exhibition of works from the inmates of the Alice Springs jail. Discussions have been very positive and it seems that it will be held between the October16 – 25 this year with the Minister John Elferink’s in attendance. The key stakeholders in partnership with CAAS are: NTG (Correctional Services); Batchelor College and Alice Springs Town Council. If successful, it will be a significant event for CAAS, for the prisoners and for the Alice Springs community. I expect it to become an annual event on the Alice Springs Art calendar.

  • Art Evenings

Every 2nd month on a Thursday night, CAAS encourages like-minded people to get together and socialise at the Shed and share topics of artistic interest. This is a new initiative has proved very successful and has included a talk by Artist, Adventurer and Historian Bill Gannon and DVD’s covering the life of Margaret Olley to name a few. Future evenings will include Deb Clarke’s photo presentation of her recent trip to Iceland and a film based on the life of Paul Gauguin.

  • The Art Shed Library

A wonderful collection of books and other art-related resources has been established at the Art Shed for members to borrow or browse through. Books are on a self-check in / check out system. CAAS is very grateful to Carol Adams for setting up the Library and also to those members who have donated various books.

  • Art Shed Studios

All of the Art Shed studios continue to be occupied by local artists Having active Artists on the premises helps create a positive atmosphere within the Shed plus it brings in a helpful income stream for CAAS.

Advocate Art Award

The Advocate Art Award remains our premier event and the 2014 award was once again very successful with: 63 entires; 17 first time artists; 300 people attending the opening night; over 1,200 visitors to the gallery during the 2 week exhibition and 700 votes counted in the Peoples Choice Award. 13 pieces were sold totalling $10,289 in sales revenue.

I’m pleased to announce that we have full sponsorship for this year’s Advocate Art Award and I’m particularly heartened by the renewed interest and support from the Centralian Advocate newspaper. The new Managing Editor Michael Gorey has demonstrated his enthusiasm towards the event by reinstating $1,200 sponsorship for this year’s People’s Choice Award. 8Heele Gallery has also come back onboard to provide $800.00 support for this year’s Places Prize and Chapman & Bailey have kindly shifted their support from a $800.00 Section Prize to the $2,500 Excellence Prize. We are indebted to all of this year’s Advocate Art Award sponsors and thank them for their support and generosity.

Once again I’d like to acknowledge the work carried out by Steve Anderson as the coordinator of the Advocate Art Award and to those committee members and members who continue to provided their support.

En Plein Air

Each year CAAS offers the opportunity to work together in the beautiful Central Australian landscape.

En Plein Air is about to re-commence for the winter outdoor season and my thanks go to Dugald Beattie for organising these events.

The Challenges Ahead

I think that you would agree from my report, CAAS has been very active over the past year and it’s exciting to see new initiatives in place and those soon to come on stream. However, it is one thing to create new initiatives and another thing to maintain and nurture them, particularly in a voluntary organization like ours.   The important tasks are too often left to a few dedicated people, and whilst they do it without complaint, it isn’t a good position to be in.   We therefore must find ways to encourage our members to become more active, both in terms of joining in with activities and lending a hand when there’s some heavy lifting to do. As Mark Wilson recently wrote, “We are only as strong as our members and supporters” and he is right! But what can we do about it?   As you have heard, we have greatly improved our communication systems and provided a number of new activities/resources for our members, but it seems not to be enough. So I’ll pose that question for new committee to ponder.


I’d like to take this opportunity of thanking the committee for all of their efforts over the past year – it’s been a pleasure working with you. I’d also like to wish the new committee all the best in the year to come.

Your presence today is greatly valued and appreciated. Thankyou.

 Ron Talbot

CAAS President

From the President

April 2015

Greetings to members, families and friends.

The weather in Central Australia has turned cool and therefore provides us with the opportunity to dust off our outdoor art equipment and venture out into this beautiful surrounding countryside.

We have been fortunate enough to have a number of art books recently donated to the society. Active member Carol Adams has sorted though them and established a library along with a borrowing system at the Art Shed.   These books are available for members to borrow or to simply peruse at their leisure whilst at the shed.   CAAS is very grateful, for the donations and for the excellent follow-up work by Carol.

 I’d like to put out a general call to all members and friends to try to attend/participate in the activities that the society provides and promotes.   The committee continues to work hard to bring art activities to its members for their enjoyment and personal development. Life Drawing for examples continues to offer easy access to models and facilities; our Art Evening get togethers are a great way to meet like minded people and to learn about art in general and/or art in practice; the Advocate Art Award is once again just around the corner and offers a great opportunity for members to have their work hung/displayed in the magnificent Araluen Arts Centre; our En Plein Air trips out bush during the cooler months are very rewarding and come highly recommended by those who regularly attend. We will hold a members exhibition, opening on Friday 11September at the Art Shed that will provide an excellent opportunity for members to gather and celebrate their artistic achievements – details will soon be on our website – I appeal to all members to get behind this one.   Other less formal activities can occur, such as the recent Pop-Up exhibition by CAAS member Bevil Stanley. The spontaneity of this event along with the subject matter provided a wonderful thought provoking experience for those who attended.   The committee is also working on other exhibitions to be held in the second half of this year. So, when you see them advertised I urge you to come along in support and to engage in the creative activities of your art society.

We look forward to seeing you!

‘Till next time … Happy Art

Ron Talbot

0466 791 400

From the President –

February, 2015

 Well here we are, already into March 2015 – how time flies. The heat is relentless and I always find it difficult at this time of year to imagine that things can get very cold in Central Australia during midyear.

The CAAS committee has never-the–less been active, holding our usual monthly meetings and starting to plan for the year. We are discussing the possibility of more activities occurring at the CAAS Art Shed this year. Life Drawing will continue as normal and as our website says, “CAAS has been sponsoring Life drawing for over 30 years” so we know a little about how do this. Why not contact our hard working organisers Mark Wilson on 0428 478 143 to get details about our next session. We are also keen to hold members’ exhibitions at the Shed so why not consider giving it a go? There are good facilities here and a very supportive crew who can assist by giving advice or just simply helping with organising the event.   Members might consider holding a joint exhibition, which would be less daunting for some. There’s plenty of room on the calendar and the committee is keen to hear from you and ready to help with any proposals. You can contact me directly on 0466 791 400 or go to our website and click on “Exhibitions” and download an exhibition “Guidelines and Application” document. We are also considering holding a “Members Exhibition” this year so keep your eyes open for details. The committee is also keen to continue holding further Art Evening Get Togethers, where we might watch an art DVD or listen to a talk on a particular art topic. These have proved popular so far and we’ll be in-touch about future evenings. As always, go to and our Facebook page if you use this site for more details about whatever is happening at CAAS. Be sure to add your email address at our page, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook to receive automatic updates.

As I mentioned in my previous dispatch, we have secured sponsorship for all the categories in this year’s Advocate Art Award and we have been promised plenty of support from Michael Gorey, the new editor of the Centralian Advocate. The AAA opens on Friday 24th July this year in Gallery 1 at the Araluen Arts Centre and while that may seem a long way away, now is the time to start to consider what you might create for this year’s event.

So, lets get the art momentum going for 2015. Your committee is already actively pursuing ideas and events and once they are finalised then it will be heartening to see members getting involved.

Happy Art,

Ron Talbot

0466 791 400

From the President –

November, 2014

Well, the run down to the end of the year seems to be gathering pace.   Christmas decorations are already up in shops and end of year functions are underway in some workplaces.  All this tends to remind me of what I didn’t achieve during this year!  Well never mind me, CAAS achieved a lot this year and it will soon be time to take a break, gather ourselves before launching in to 2015.

Without going into detail, it’s suffice to say that the Art Shed saw a lot of action during the year: from artists busily working in their studios; workshops being run; art evenings and the odd exhibition being held, all suggesting a busy year.  Outside the shed we hosted a very successful 2014 Advocate Art Award and managed to fit in some En Plein Air events out bush.  We do what we do with energy, and with satisfaction that our members are increasingly becoming involved.

Some of this year’s achievements are a prelude to next year.  The committee started some new initiatives, such as the Thursday Art Evenings and Weekend Workshops.  These were all successful and it’s our intention to build on these experiences for next year.  We have also worked hard on connecting with our members through Facebook, emails and our website…communication is the key to connecting with members and the general public.

The November committee meeting will be the last formal CAAS gathering for 2014 so I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the committee members for all of their hard work and dedication throughout the year and to wish all of our members a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I look forward to catching up with you in 2015.

Ron Talbot

From the President –

October, 2014


The hot weather is already upon us and we are therefore forced to retreat indoors for our art activities.  This does serve to remind us all to make the most of our wonderful Central Australian environment during the cooler months of the year.  So why not make a mental note now about joining other CAAS members during one of our En Plein Air activities next year?  You will meet like-minded people in a friendly art encounter out in the beautiful Centralian bush.  Keep an eye on our website for details of next years En Plein Air program.

In my last month’s report I mentioned how CAAS was collaborating with a number of Alice Springs High School to hold a student exhibition at the Art Shed this year.  Unfortunately, because of time constraints and the busy school calendar we have called off this year’s exhibition. However, we are determined to run with this idea next year and we are already talking with schools about a more suitable date during 2015 school calendar.  I’ll keep you posted on developments.

You would have read about the visit by Bill Gannon to CAAS on our Website. Bill who is an artist, historian and adventurer, provided an interesting talk at the CAAS Art Shed on Thursday 16th October.   Bill shared information about his past and current projects including the retracing of Matthew Flinders and Ludwig Leichhardt’s travels and more recently, the retracing of John McDouall Stuart’s diaries and trails. The night was well attended and Bill was able to answer numerous questions from the audience. CAAS will continue to provide art evenings for members.  If you have a particular topic or art technique that you’d like covered then please let us know and we will do our best to provide it.

CAAS member and established artist/teacher Carol Adams held a watercolour session at the Art Shed on Sunday, October 19.  The workshop covered the medium of watercolour and participants practiced a number of different techniques.  This was an excellent workshop, well prepared and presented.  We will try to get Carol back next year, so keep your eyes open for when it will occur – as a well satisfied participant, I can thoroughly recommend it.

Till next time, happy art,

Ron Talbot

From the President –

September, 2014

I’m pleased to announce that sponsorship has been secured for all of the award categories within the 2015 Advocate Art Award. This is excellent news and puts CAAS on a firm footing for the planning of this major event.

CAAS has been working closely with a number of Alice Springs High Schools in an endeavour to hold an exhibition of high school students’ work sometime this year. Discussions are ongoing and at this stage we have identified the evening of Friday 31 October at the Art Shed for the opening. This is part of the CAAS charter to support the development of art in Central Australia and we are very pleased to be engaged with the schools to make this happen. Please keep an eye on the CAAS web site or Facebook page for further developments.

Visiting artist Emma Stuart has been using the shed as a temporary studio for painting during her recent time in Alice Springs. It’s always good to come into our headquarters and see artists at work. Emma is a very talented artist, painting stunning landscapes in oils. She is a member of the well-known Stuart family. Her mother Barbara Stuart is a well-established artist, member and a regular entrant in the Advocate Art Award. Her father Morris Stuart is the leader of the Asante Sana choir and her sister Rebekah is also an artist who creates impressions in a photographic form – what a talented family!

CAAS member and established artist/teacher Carol Adams will hold a one-off watercolour session at the shed on October 19. The workshop will take a close look at the medium of watercolour (rather than how to paint in watercolour). Go to the CAAS web site for more details.

CAAS held its first Art Evening the other night. A group of members watched a number of videos covering the life and work of Margaret Olley. It was fascinating to gain an insight into this remarkable Australian artist and a pleasure to be part of the discussion between members over a glass of wine and nibbles. Keep your eye out for the next evening and come along, you won’t be disappointed. On that note, the next evening session will be a talk by Bill Gannon, artist, historian and adventurer who tracing the routes of some Australian early explorers. Go to:

for an insight into this talented artist. We have chosen Thursday 16th October, in the evening at the CAAS Art Shed. Hope to see many of you. There is a fee to support Bill’s travels & research costs. An event not to be missed!

A number of members gathered at Simpsons Gap on Sunday for a spot of Plein Air art. The temperature was perfect as we positioned ourselves at various spots along the riverbed. Some excellent work had been produced by the time the shadows lengthened and we retreated to the BBQ area to enjoy a few sausages and a glass of wine. What a spectacular country that we live in Central Australia – an artists paradise!! Make sure that you join us for more sessions of En Plein Air during 2015. We will put the program up on our website once it is finalised. Check under the Plein Air TAB.

Storage space continues to be an issue at the CAAS headquarters and our Treasurer Steve Anderson has applied for government funds to build a good-sized shed out the back of CAAS. We’ll keep you posted on any developments.

Till next time, happy Art

Ron Talbot.

0466 791 400

From The President –

August, 2014

Temperatures in Central Australia are starting to increase heralding the hotter months ahead and reminding us to be active outside with our art before it gets too hot to do so.  On that note, please try to make our final En Plein Air event to be held at Simpsons Gap/Cassia Hill on Sunday 21 September.  It will be great to see a big turnout for this one given it tends to mark the end of our outdoor activities for the year.

Go to: for more details.

Many thanks to those who entered this year’s Advocate Art Award.  I hope that it lived up to your expectations and that you enjoyed having your work displayed in the Araluen gallery.  It was also pleasing to see the big turn up at the opening ceremony and at the Walk in the Art session on the last day.  The general feeling amongst those I spoke to was that the standard of entry was particularly high this year.  The exhibition certainly looked outstanding and again I’d like to thank those members who volunteered their time leading up to and during the event and to the staff at the Araluen Art Centre for being so helpful.  I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our sponsors.  Their contribution is gratefully acknowledged.  However, we still require sponsorship for the overall Excellence Award, so please keep your ears to the ground and let us know of any potential sponsors out there. Some of the statistics from this year’s event makes interesting reading:

  • There were 63 entries with 17 being first time entrants
  • 13 pieces sold and one piece was acquired by Araluen for its collection
  • 701 people voted for the People’s Choice and approximately 700 visitors viewed the exhibition over the two weeks.

Life Drawing activities at the Art Shed continue to be popular and committee member Mark Wilson does a great job of organising models. For details contact: or phone Mark on 0428 478 143. (Send an sms if you prefer)  To receive notice of the Saturday afternoon sessions send us your email address. The Wednesday evening Long Pose group works strictly by SMS to a mobile phone to give a quicker turnaround time. Non-members welcome but there is an extra $5 charge.

Our Secretary Nyssa Mullooly recently stood down from the committee and moved to Brisbane.  I’d like to acknowledge the splendid work that Nyssa did during her time on the committee and wish her and her partner Chris every success for the future.

In the meantime, the committee is working hard organising various other activities coming your way soon.  Please keep in touch – members and friends are always welcome at the Art Shed and to any of our activities.

Happy Art

Ron Talbot

0466 791 400

From the President

June, 2014

I don’t know about you but the year seems to be moving along far too quickly for me. Here we are, more than halfway through the year with winter upon us and the Advocate Art Award just around the corner! ! I hope that you are well on the way to completing your piece for the Advocate Art Award or at least have started. Remember that you can go online to enter. Go to and click on Advocate Art Award and fill out the entry form there. You will find the “Conditions for Entry” there also so please take the time to read through these to make sure that your piece complies. We have also deposited a few hard copy entry forms at Leaping Lizards Gallery, Jacksons Art Supplies and Chapman & Bailey Art Supplies but would prefer you to use our on-line entry process. Entries close at 6.00pm on Friday July 11th and no late entries will be accepted. If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to ring the coordinator Steve Anderson on 0429 976 525 or myself on 0466 791 400. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing the usual range of magnificent entries in this year’s award. CAAS is calling for exhibition proposals from members and other interested artists to be held at the Art Shed this year. There are plenty of spaces left on the calendar, so if you are interested go to our website and download our exhibition guidelines/application document. CAAS is also in conversation with a number of Alice Springs senior schools over the possibility of holding a senior art students exhibition at the CAAS Art Shed. Discussions are in the early stage at the moment but there is a lot of positive responses to this idea.

CAAS is also keen to start holding the occasional Art Evenings at the Art Shed. This will be more a social evening than anything formal. It will provide an opportunity for members to get together, watch an art DVD or listen to a presentation and then have a chat together afterwards over a glass of wine and nibbles. We’ll keep you posted.

Remember to keep an eye on our website for other activities such as Life Drawing and En Plein Air.

Happy Art.

Ron Talbot

CAAS President

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