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Mentorship with Virginia Cuppaidge

This is a very belated post to acknowledge the special opportunity I received to be mentored by senior abstract artist, Virginia Cuppaidge, in 2020. Virginia resides in Newcastle, after a 40 plus year career in New York, a return home to Australia. I was awarded the opportunity as part of the first mentorship program offered by the Newcastle Art Space.

A most generous mentor, particularly given the challenges of navigating it through a pandemic, Virginia is considered and warm, and loves nothing more than to talk art. This, from our first meeting, was to form the foundation of the year I spent seeing art from Viriginia's perspective. It is a rare treat to really nut down to the fundamentals of what it is that we see, think and respond to as artists, and to hold that honest conversation with Virginia was a very lovely experience. And one that affirmed for me so much about what I feel is important, to have that reflected back to me, with warm encouragement, has gently reaffirmed my direction as an artist. We spent time wandering the Newcastle Art Gallery, viewing her process of painting in her studio, which I felt very privileged to be privy to, and invited Virginia to lunch at my studio in west Lake Mac. My 2 year old daughter and I had a lovely morning tea in her Art Deco apartment in Newcastle on one occasion, an opportunity to see her private collection of paintings, and we talked about what form her practice takes today.

Whilst our subjects as artists differ, we both have a strong interest in colour. Virginia never uses black or leaves an area of her work white. For her these are not colours! And I must agree, why use something at the ends of the spectrum when you can use colour that to me gives the image more power.

I am most humbled by the experience I had of a year chatting with Virginia and her generous support. I am most greatful for her time and to Newcastle Art Space for facilitating the mentorship.

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