A Brush with Brilliance at Artigo Studio

Artigo Studio is offering those keen to tap into their artistic skills the opportunity to get colourful and paint wherever their soul takes them, writes Gabi Mills.

First of all, a disclaimer. I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of an artist in hiding but lack the technical skills to translate these lofty ambitions into anything really approaching proper art which would ever grace a gallery.

Fortunately, that’s just the type of wannabe artist owner of Artigo Studio Emily Eldrige prefers. Not a fan of traditional fine art rules and regulations, Emily is all about going with the flow. It’s much more free and easy at this lovely studio above the Subiaco Bookshop off Rokeby Road and very much my cup of tea. Emily’s students are encouraged to go with the flow and do what feels right rather than what the rule books say we must do to achieve a perfect end product.

So that’s why on a Sunday morning, you would have found me and my fellow students being encouraged to take our shoes off, to really ground ourselves before tackling the task ahead. The table is set up ready for our efforts: an easel, canvas, acrylic paints, brushes and palette knife awaits. I’ve had some experience with acrylic painting and watercolours but never wielded a palette knife before.

We’re all there to paint a version of a golden tree – with many examples to draw on around the studio from past students and Emily herself. The studio may be pint-sized but it packs a big punch in terms of feel-good positivity for those who find themselves under Emily’s tutelage. This is almost art therapy for us souls who’ve been through the wringer over the years and Emily’s gentle approach certainly caters for those who may lack confidence to take that first step with paint onto canvas.

On the same floor, you’ll find other creative entrepreneurs including a music teacher and sewing guru.

The philosophy at Artigo is simple: to make creating, painting, owning and exploring art accessible to all. You may consider yourself to have zero artistic ability but if my experience was anything to go by, I guarantee that after two hours in Emily’s company, you’ll end up with something pretty beautiful to adorn your home.

“There’s no pretence, no hierarchy, just good people sharing their skills and empowering others,” says Emily. So far, so welcoming. With other working artists, Artigo aims to open up the possibilities of being an artist to all via workshops aimed at unleashing your inner Rothko, Picasso or Monet.

Classes are kept small and there’s wine and other drinks on offer as well as nibbles to sustain the muse throughout each session. The two ladies I painted my tree with were equally focused on creating something unique and I was surprised how different our trees turned out, despite using the same colours and approach.

There’s private tuition and bespoke workshops for groups on offer too, the perfect way to work and play together if you’ve got a birthday coming up or something to celebrate.

“Our artists offer a range of workshops- from resins, alcohol ink and lino prints to watercolours, acrylic painting and more,” says Emily, who splits her time between Perth and Margaret River where she’s building up quite a following as an emerging expressionist artist.

As I get busy layering some luscious magenta and copper acyrlics on my canvas, it comes as no surprise to learn that Emily lives in the heart of a forest down south, and is inspired by the marri trees which surround her studio.

She’s all about emphasising the connection to country and the land, and the rich palette her own work displays reinforces the jewel-like colours of the oceans and trees that she calls home.

I’m surprisingly impressed with my palette knife work and find myself fantasising about a life which involves less laptop eyestrain and more painterly smears on my apron. We add layers of metallic paint, shimmering orbs and splatter golden ink across the tree’s bark. Somehow, it miraculously evolves into something really quite mystic and moving.

By the end of this all-too brief session, I’m convinced my future lies in paint. I’ll be back for one of Artigo’s ‘Find Your Artistic Voice’ sessions. It’s a class where you’ll receive guidance, feedback and support but no judgement if your brushstrokes take you off piste.

Visit artigostudio.com

Suite 6/113 Rokeby Road, Subiaco (down the laneway next to Subiaco Bookshop)


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