We were very proud to be 2016 sponsors for the Australian Theatre Company in Los Angeles.
I am so pleased to say that my painting Long Beach California sold at the Gala to raise funds for the future of theatre in LA. Currently it’s the Aussies that are leading the charge. Congratulations ATC!!!
Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’ – this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin’.
Well it seems incredible, one of the paintings I creating during this series of Colour In Your Life will be auctioned on Saturday at the Australian Theatre Company’s second annual Gala Event.
Watch the show and see an artists dreams come true!
MY FAMILY HISTORY IN THEATRE
My great grandmother and her sisters were involved in the London theatre scene when their eldest sister Lilian Langdon was a dresser at the Bedford Theatre in London. Charlotte (Lotte) and her two sisters Maude and May were small, beautiful and very strong and quickly picked up by Fred Karno – the British theatre impresario who popularised the custard pie-in-the-face gag in the late 19th century and represented Charlie Chaplin.
They became some of the greatest acrobats that toured America. Called The Onetti Sisters and sometimes The Pattersons they were joined by two other women. It was the turn of the 20th century and theatre producers and agents were incredibly active and organised. Between 1900 and 1910 Vaudeville was king. Signing with a Vaudeville producer meant guaranteed bookings and intense travel times.
Everything was live. it was also the time of the big state fair and epic stadium performances. It was the setting described years later in Meet Me in St Lois as they prepare for the World’s Fair. Films like The Greatest Show on Earth and many musical films were directly influenced by the theatre, inventive performances and elaborate shows of the early 1900s. Fairs, circus, ‘parks’ and theatres of all sizes were all intertwined. Some of the most beautiful Vaudeville theatres later became cinemas.
Between 1906 and 1917 the girls toured the USA extensively from state fairs to Vaudeville in Toronto, New York, Seattle, Boston, Chicago etc. They were often sold as the greatest specialist gymnasts of their time.
Variety reviews talk of their ‘classy aerial work’ holding the audience right to the end. They would be placed last on the bill for this reason. Everyone went to live theatre and shows were long and full of a variety of acts, including burlesque opera, songstresses, comedians, acrobatics, ‘wooden shoe’ dancing, wire and talk.
It was tough to keep the audiences awake and their showy tricks had the audiences spellbound. Live theatre gave actors and performers a place to experiment and later it fed great film. It would have been tough work. Actors unions were newly formed and only represented white men.
Awareness of that hardship fuels the passion of many actors and performers today. To think of those young girls being pushed to their limits and touring non stop at such a time is astonishing to me. The films that sprung from that time inspire us and the theatre is the place where we can play. The ‘play’ has evolved into many things, not just entertainment but thought provoking drama, psychological exploration, high art and more.
And so I donated my painting Palm Trees, Long Beach California to the #buildATC.
Artist donates large oil painting of Long Beach to Australian Theatre Company (ATC) in LA for their live auction at the Annual Gala October 1, 2016
I was inspired to help the ATC build for the future because of her family’s history on stage and screen in Los Angeles. The films that sprung from their time inspire us and the theatre is the place where we can play. The ‘play’ has evolved into many things, not just entertainment but thought provoking drama, psychological exploration, high art and more.
There must always be live theatre!
I have been exhibiting for over 30 years. My paintings and sculptures have won a number of prizes and been a finalist in the Fleurieu Art Prize, the Blake prize, Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London and exhibited at art fairs in London and throughout Australia. Over one hundred and twenty of my paintings have sold in the last three years.
My inspiration is drawn from the natural world.
I am essentially a Post Impressionist artist in the era of global warming. Inspired by the innate beauty of life and the sea.
The ATC has been working tirelessly over the years to shine a light on Australian arts in the USA, providing opportunities for Australian actors and actresses, directors, producers, writers and crew to showcase their talents. My son, Laurence Fuller, is a very active member of the Australian arts community in Los Angeles, another reason I felt so drawn to support this wonderful artistic cause.
The painting I donated was created for an episode of the TV program “Put Some Colour in Your Life” which can be viewed on YouTube follow the link here to see the painting in progress.
ATC’s Annual Gala is on October 1st in Los Angeles
The event will be hosted by the Australian Consul-General in Los Angeles commencing at 5pm
Join ATC for an evening of cocktails, canapés and entertainment, plus a live auction of incredible prizes and experiences including:
– Return airfares to Australia courtesy of Qantas plus an accommodation package at The Langham Hotel Sydney
– Painting by Australian artist Stephanie Burns valued at $5000
– 2 night stay at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita Mexico
– 2 tickets to Human Nature’s “Jukebox – Pop. Soul. Motion & More” including a meet and greet at the Venetian Hotel Las Vegas
Tickets are available by calling 310-467-8291 or email
“We really lived in a milieu of artists writers and philosophers, so everything was art. People like Roger Scruton, who is a British philosopher, and Howard Jacobson who is a prize winning novelist, all these people were just part of our milieu so art was night and day.” Stephanie Burns, Fine Art Tips with Colour In Your Life
Watch Stephanie as she paints Long Beach in California while talking to Graeme Stevenson about art life and the human condition.
“It’s really difficult to talk about nature. I think that’s because we feel nature and we smell nature and in some ways that’s sort of like art, too. It’s hard to talk about art, it’s something that we feel … I try and paint that feeling” – Stephanie Burns on “Put Some Colour in Your Life”.
In June I travelled to Catalina Island with my son, Laurence Fuller, to find the inspiration for my next paintings. Follow me on the journey as we fly over the island in a helicopter, dive under the water in a submarine and take a boat out to search for Sea Lions.
It starts in the helicopter as we get our bearings of the island.
My camera man looks pretty cool getting off the chopper in the video of my search for inspiration.
Catalina is much larger than I expected, too large for me to do an aerial painting of the Island and add in people and architectural features. It was great to see the island from this perspective and feel what it is like from an eagles vantage point. This view might work as a painting.
We get on the semi-submersible sub Nautilus and head out to Lover’s Cove. An area I spot from the helicopter with aqua water and scuba divers.
Although it was great to see the fish the underwater experience did not give me that special feeling I need for a painting.
Out on a boat in search of dolphins and sea lions just past Lover’s Cove that moment of excitement and anticipation swept over me. Up ahead we saw a pontoon covered in sea lions, as we approached a young male slipped into the water.
Then the moment happened, all of my senses where alert. The smell of the sea lions can be a shock at first, making me aware of the fresh sea I smelt the moment before. As I searched the surface for the male sea lion to surface again he jumped out of the water creating an arc with his reflection in the water. Nature had been amazing and I had my first subject.
The painting created from the moment the male sea lion jumped is very different from the photo. I use photographs as a memory jogger. A camera does not see the way we see, it doesn’t feel the air, it can’t smell, it doesn’t see the surface and see through the water at the same time. When I paint a subject like this I am not Stephanie Burns standing on a boat with a camera watching a sea lion. I am the sea lion. I feel the air as he jumps from the wet to the air, I feel the water dripping off him, i feel his intention to nose dive back into the water. Most importantly I feel his sense of pride as he shows off to the humans on the boat watching him in front of the females on the pontoon. What male doesn’t feel great when he knows he just pulled off a perfect jump. Bonus, all the girls were watching.
We cruised over towards the shore, the captain pointed out the sea lions and pubs basking in the sun. One of them raised herself onto her front flippers and arched her neck back.
There it was another perfect moment.
The sea lion in the water is a great balance to the two on the shore. The background of the hillside wasn’t right. As we turned towards Avalon the water was so aqua and clear it was incredible. A white rock stood out in the distance, there was a sea lion pup lying on the white rock. We got closer he didn’t move. No performance for the humans today from him.
In my mind I can see my sea lions on that rock.
I have my second subject for a painting.
Back at the hotel I start to do a study to see if the structure I have in mind works as a painting.
The colours work the structure is right, I know when I get back to my Hollywood studio that I can start work on a large oil painting.
The finished painting evokes the experience of that day. You can even feel the sea lion in the water swimming towards the rock.
Over the past seven years I have created twenty aerial paintings inspired by Bondi Beach in Sydney. Most of the scenes depict the north end of Bondi where there are rock pools, rocky outcrops and a park.
The first painting “Ten All” was a real scene, evidently there were a group of blokes who, once a year get together to play table tennis in the rock pool at the north end of the beach. I saw an image of this on google maps all those years ago and it inspired me to free my imagination and allow for the most fanciful stories to be created in paint.
For example the Fountain of Youth series which combines the painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder which I saw and studied in Berlin in 1999 and the rock pool at the end of Bondi Beach. In Cranach’s painting the old women are being wheeled to the pool in carts and on wheelbarrows by men who appear to be much younger. As they slide into the pool and move gingerly towards the fountain they begin to transform. As their youth returns the women play with their hair, frolic and caress each other and are generally being seductive. They come out of the pool and go into the tent to get dressed then join their lovers behind the bushes or for a stroll or a picnic in the park. Update to the 21st century and in my painting the old ladies limp towards the pool, one of them is being wheeled in a chair. As they approach they drop their canes in a pile and are helped into the pool by burley young men. As they regain their youth they cavort and do all sort of gymnastics as they move towards the steps at the other end. One of the young women is with her lover on the ocean side of the pool. But, in the 21st century the women have far more important and adventurous things to do with their youth and they set off into the world.
Yesterday the team from Put Some Colour In Your Life came into my studio to do a program on my work. During the program I start a painting of Longbeach from the Pier from scratch. I mean one of those scary blank white canvases. Graeme Stevenson and Sophie Stacey were great, they made me feel at ease with their professionalism and their friendliness.
There is always a worry that the show won’t go the way I hoped for or the painting won’t go well. Inviting people into my studio is always a bit nerve wracking because you never can predict the reaction of the viewer. Obviously people make judgements as soon as they walk in and no one want to hear negative comments about new work. Graeme and Sophia sat down with me and went through all the photos I had chosen for the program and we discussed art, artists, nature and the structure of aesthetic beauty. The Golden Ratio and fractals are also one of Graeme’s interests.
The program will be on YouTube in the next 6-8 weeks.