Christine Hingston’s airy studio amongst the emerald Bali rice fields is an artist’s dream.
Overlooking lush Ubud jungle on one side, rice paddies on the other, ‘it’s certainly inspired my practice,’ nods the vivacious Perth artist, paintbrush in hand.
She’s on a roll. Around us, large colourful canvases perch, with her latest passion, ceramics, in a room that sings, ‘creativity.’
Nearby, one of her three cats – mostly strays adopted by Tim – is purring contentedly. Otherwise, the only sound is the song of cicadas in the jungle outside.
We’re at Christine and photographer Tim’s striking new home in tropical paradise.
It’s open plan, spacious, and peppered with wonderful works by this talented duo.
About three years ago, the couple, who met at Claremont art school in the 70s, decided to make Bali their artistic base.
Together, they’ve raised a family, travelled the world and exhibited their works, but felt that at this time of their life the isle of the Gods holds everything they desire.
‘I’d spent a lot of time up here, painting and holding workshops and it felt a natural progression to spend more time here,’ Christine explains.
‘And It’s not as though we’ve moved across the globe or anything. We’re still so close to Perth and our clients back home.’
They spent six months looking for the right place to build a studio and house, before hitting on the ideal location. ‘We wanted something rural, but within walking distance to the cafes and shops,’ Christine tells The Starfish.
Having lived in the Perth hills, they knew they didn’t want to live too far away from town: ‘it was important for us not to feel isolated.’
‘This piece of land became available and it’s just perfect – with jungle on one side and rice fields on the other, what could be better?’ she waves her hand. After a few negotiations, the land was theirs.
The couple then set about designing their dream home, which was completed in about 18 months.
‘I would come and oversee it every day,’ Christine recalls, over a herbal tea and biscuits still warm from the local bakery.
A stand-out feature of the home’s entrance is a striking mosaic of glass fragments set in the concrete floor and polished flat. ‘We had great fun designing this with a team of Balinese workers all having their input,’ she says.
‘We wanted the home to be bright, airy and open, but with good security so we can lock it up when we’re back in Perth.’
The result is striking. Though their artistic styles are very different, Tim’s mostly black and white depictions of exotic people and places compliment Christine’s vibrant canvases.
With its high ceilings and large wooden decking jutting into jungle, visitors feel as though they’re a million miles away from the hustle-and-bustle. And yet, they’re just a five minute walk through fields to Ubud’s main road.
‘I’m certainly finding that I’m painting a lot more than before,’ Christine enthuses.
“This is the most creative environment an artist could wish for! I just love getting up and going to my studio for hours each day.’
She’s also immersed herself in the joy of ceramics. ‘I’ve done six workshops up here at Gaya Ceramics, mentored by international artists, and I’ve learned so much!’ she nods.
She’ll be showcasing some of her new paintings and ceramics at the annual Perth hills arts fest, Mundaring Artists Open Studios, where Christine is a guest artist at the studio of glass artist Silvana Ferrario (at 2790 Thomas Rd in Mahogany Creek.)
‘I’ll have some paintings featuring some favourite Australian icons including magpies and Boab trees,’ she says. ‘And my new collection of whimsical ‘Fish Wife’ ceramic pieces.’
Mundaring Artists Open Studios is on Saturday October 20 and Sunday October 21 and Saturday October 27 and 28.
For more details on the event, now in its ninth year and featuring 41 artists over two weekends, visit www.mundaring-hills-open-studios.org.au
For more info about Christine’s art visit:
Galleries that represent Christine:
Artopia Gallery Kununurra
Gallery Aura Kojonup
Yallingup Galleries Yallingup
Margaret River Gallery, Margaret River
Applecross Art and Framing
Starfish Photos: Peter Rigby