Our long weekend in Mildura was blessed with warm, sunny weather. After another relentlessly cold, wet Ballarat winter (which has now extended into spring), this was a welcome bonus.
Not surprisingly, upon arrival our first port of call was the Art Vault, where we reunited with Art Vault Director Julie Chambers and met fellow artist Tony Ameneiro.
Julie showed Shane and I our pages in a sumptuous new book containing highlights of the gallery's first five years. Behind it is the Art Vault 5th Anniversary catalogue, which details its history and devotes a page to every artist who has undertaken a residency to date.
Back at the Art Vault on the following day, we met up with artist Martin King and Dr Sasha Grishin. The latter was invited by Julie to launch the 5th Anniversary exhibition. I wish I had followed Sasha's example and had all the artists present autograph their pages in the commemorative catalogue. Below, from left: Shane Jones, Martin King signing Sasha Grishin's catalogue and on the far right, Sasha himself.
Back at Julie and Kevin's house, my fellow shipmates prepare to depart for the exhibition opening and anniversary party. Below, from left: Martin King, Rosalind Atkins, Shane Jones, ex de Medici and Stephanie Bolt.
Thoughtful as ever, Julie and Kevin had arranged for two stretch limousines to take us to and from the party. I am sure that we all thought that these vehicles were the last word in vulgarity. But once we had the opportunity to actually ride in one, we were as excited as children. Most artists I know are not used to being made to feel so special. Pictured below from left: ex de Medici and Ros Atkins.
From left: ex de Medici, Ros and I.
Heaven knows how many photographs we took of each other during the relatively short ride to the Art Vault. Here, Ros photographs me photographing her, while ex contemplates her next shot.
Below: Shane Jones, Anita Laurence and Bill Young.
Our James Bond-style bar changed colour every few seconds. It was stocked with mineral water and lollypops.
Shane Jones contemplating a lifestyle to which he wouldn't mind becoming accustomed. Anita and Bill concur.
Our limos arrive at their destination. Ours was the one in front. Later that evening we road home on the second one.
Sasha Grishin's memorable launch of the exhibition. (Photograph courtesy of Anne Spudlivas)
At the party's commencement, Julie Chambers takes the microphone.
Completely absorbed in Julie's speech, Shane Jones is oblivious to the charms of two of the party's exotic hostesses:
Helen Healy especially composed and performed a song celebrating the Art Vault's inestimable contribution to the arts in Mildura. It was unquestionably one of the evening's highlights.
During the ride home in limo #2 David Frazer and his partner Sarah partook of some of the limo's extensive supply of lollypops...
...as did Rod Gray.