Archives: Sunshine Coast

Bringing back MacBride

File this story under op-shopper’s boast, except, you know, I wasn’t even in an op-shop at the time.

But heavens, what a discovery.

 

I can’t even remember the original reason I was in Reverse Garbage, now, but it wasn’t to look for paintings. Yet there they were, four or five boxes of them: all oils, most in lovely vintage frames. Coastal landscapes, a few portraits, rural scenes, waterways, forests, a horse or two. And florals, arrangement upon arrangement.

I pulled some striking pieces out, and then some more.

Heather MacBride

Glasshouse mountains and wide sandbanks. A dark little rainforest. A small town harbour with 1970s-era boats, I held on to with the self-deluding excuse: my partner would love this (it’s really for me). A Lynch-esque portrait gripped me. I gathered flowers to create a feature salon hang for my parents’ wall. A bouquet in old oil.

Heather MacBride

Feeling greedy, I returned a few to the pile. Two portraits replaced I now particularly regret. I halved my swag and still walked away with a dozen beautiful paintings. At home, away from that junky environment, they glowed. I stared at them on the tiled floor.

Why would anyone dump these at Reverse Garbage?

I sent a picture to a friend who I know was in the market for similar vintage floral oils. I sent a picture to another vintage-art loving friend.

Heather MacBride

I examined the signature: H MacBride. Deceased estate, I assumed. There would have been a hundred paintings in those boxes.

Most had a description pencilled on the back. A pattern emerged. I noted the majority of landscape painted was southeast Queensland coast or hinterland, from north of of Brisbane to Coolum, and particularly Caloundra and the Pumicestone Passage.

Caloundra by Heather MacBride

My friend Wendy grew up in Caloundra in the 1950s and 60s, and knew artists there. I sent a speculative message. Any clues about this dumped art? Who was H MacBride?

“That must be Heather MacBride,” she responded. “I heard she died a few months ago.”

“She surfed with Ma and Pa Bendall.”

I sent through the portrait: yes, it was a self portrait of Heather MacBride.

Bingo.

I GoScreen Shot 2018-01-12 at 12.51.30 PMogled, and found a tantalizing slice of an obituary for Heather MacBride, but the link was broken.

 

My friend texted back: an image of eight floral oil paintings. So did my other friend, who was ecstatic at her haul of beach scenes and flowers. In their images, I noticed beautiful paintings that I hadn’t seen in the RG boxes, earlier.

There must have been more!!!

Wendy sent a message asking if I could pick some up for her. It was Saturday afternoon, and RG would close in 5 minutes. I made plans to be there Monday.

Some of the work had been framed in gorgeous old frames, particularly the larger paintings. I dreaded to think that these had been collected by people to use the frame only, and I hoped that the paintings wouldn’t be dumped. The two portraits I’d left behind haunted me: one was of a swarthy man with an intense gaze, the other a blue-eyed woman in a red scarf, hand on chin, looking pensive.

I arrived a few minutes before RG opened on Monday, and asked about the paintings. As much as I love RG, I explained my surprise at the art ending up here (at a depot to recycle materials otherwise destined for landfill) rather than an op-shop, or even a gallery?

The driver who’d collected the donation happened to be on-site: he explained that he’d picked up around 300 works of art from a man in a suburb on the north of Brisbane. He thought it was the artist’s nephew.

But didn’t anyone in the family want her work?

The driver believed that the family had already taken what they wanted (or could). These were the rejects! They’d also offered them to some places in Caloundra, and the regional gallery, he said, but nobody was interested. The collection was too large. RG was a distress option.

I explained that I had been asked to buy some work for an old acquaintance of the a
rtist, and was invited into the back room, where another hundred or so paintings were waiting to be priced. Some of these works were of lesser quality, but amongst the dusty frames were more gems.

Sadly, my two portraits were long gone, but I discovered another image of the blue-eyed lady in this back room.Heather MacBride
I gathered paintings like it was Christmas.

 


 

Later, I give away paintings like it’s Christmas, and it is so much fun. Friends have floral arrangements, surf breaks, a serene image of a canoe on the upper reaches of the Brisbane River.

A discerning connoisseur visits and falls for the portrait of Chairman Mao as a young man, so I give it to him. I complete my parent’s salon hang wall, and create a small collection of hibiscus paintings at home. I am a little bit in love with Heather MacBride, and I wish I’d met her.

Wendy’s mum tells me she was a doctor in Caloundra. She went to Caloundra State School, then Nambour High (“I don’t think she wore shoes until she went to high school,” she says.).

Wendy sends me the cover of a 2018 calendar put out by Caloundra council.

There, amongst the Moffateers, is Heather MacBride and her surfboard in 1974. She is beautiful.

The Moffateers, Caloundra

The Moffateers, Caloundra, 1974. Heather MacBride is at left.

 

 

The Esplanade

 

Oh, there are no photographs, as we were enjoying the moment far too much to bother recording. As usual.

But here’s a recipe for a cocktail we created last weekend.

Get invited to two of your dearest mates’ place for a kind of housewarming on a Saturday night. Go to the Yandina farmers’ markets in the morning (or, as we like to call them, the Good Markets) and buy a lovely pineapple and a bag of limes. Ask your dad if you can have a handful of mint from the garden (which, sadly, you forget. Mint would have made this drink even more awesome.)

Grab a bottle of Stoli, for old times’ sake, and hope that your friends have coconut cream in the cupboard after you forget to pick some up at the IGA. Throw in some mixers.

Deposit the lot on the kitchen counter and have a few glasses of Champagne. Hug old friends. Share some jokes.

Later, grab some accomplices. Gather ice. Chop half the pineapple into chunks. Add these to the bowlful of ice in Lindy’s big thermo thing that presides over the kitchen bench. Ask Justin how much alcohol. He’ll add about ¼ bottle of vodka and 1/3 bottle bacardi to the ice. That sounds about right. While Justin and Lou are trying to talk over the noise of the ice-and-pineapple-smashing machine, muddle a few massive teaspoons of sugar and limes (3? 4? Something like that) with a mortar and pestle. Wish you’d remembered the mint. Steal a can of coconut cream from the cupboard. Grab the ginger beer from the fridge.

When it’s smooth, pour the mashed ice/pine/vodka/bacardi into 2 jugs (it won’t fit in one). Into each, add: 1/2 can coconut cream, half the juice from the muddled sugared limes, and a good slosh of ginger beer. Stir.

Roll the rim of whatever glass you choose in the lime and pineapple juices which are probably still drenching your chopping board, then dump into leftover sugar for super sugarrimmed glamour.

Gently lower a chunk of pineapple to the bottom of the glass. Try to balance a slice of lime on the rim, fail, and drop that into the bottom as well. Fill with the blended goodness of pineapple, ice, vodka, white rum, lime, sugar, ginger beer, and coconut cream.

While glasses are being filled, take a baking tray and fill to about 2cm deep with the Esplanade mix. Secrete it into the freezer. In a few hours, you’ll remember that you did this, and you’ll be delighted to find you’ve got the beginnings of a delightful vodka granita. Or you’ll forget, but it will be perfect for tomorrow’s hangover.

That is how you create the Esplanade.

Pineapple

 

Road trip to Fraser Island

In the middle of this wet, wet, day, when I was meant to be writing, I finally got around to downloading some pics from my phone.

 

Here are a couple from a quick road trip we took to Fraser Island at the end of last year. They’re a mix of Hipstamatic, Instagram, and plain old iPhone.

The balloon rant

These first leisurely days of 2012 have seen a few leftovers from coastal New Year’s Eve celebrations washing up on the beach. While walking, I’ve collected balloons in various states: from printed “HNY!” remnants with tendrils like a jellyfish to the full (deflated) monty.

I’m suprised more coastal councils don’t follow the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s awesome lead, to ban the release of helium balloons. Call me a killjoy, but I get angsty just seeing kids’ parties at picnic spots beside rivers and beaches, decorated with balloons all itching to break their moorings and head downstream.

Because escapee balloons join all that other lovely plasticky stuff that pollutes oceans and kills marine life.

 

Contrary to what some balloon manufacturers claim, a lot of these balloons are still pretty intact when they hit the water; they’re a decent enough size to put a fat pile of appetite suppressant inside a turtle’s gut. Because balloons act just like plastic bags, and help starve a turtle by filling their stomach with inedible badness.

I know they’re fun. Yep, kids love them. I’ve been known to blow a few up in my time, inside, at my kids’ parties. Not, however, near a waterway. So if you ever see a strange woman cutting down, and binning,  abandoned balloons at the picnic area of your local beachside picnic spot, I trust you’ll understand, and maybe even approve.

 

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