Meet Alice and her artist's wonderland
YOU'D never know it was there, but just a few hundred metres from the busy Bruce Hwy is a paradise for the imagination.
Artist Alice McLaughlin has created an oasis on her Apple Tree Creek property that has become a haven for local artists.
Alive with colourful sculptures and quirky characters from the red centre to the deep blue sea, it is the product of a lifetime of hard work for McLaughlin.
Einstein wasn't wrong with his "one per cent inspiration, 99% perspiration" mantra, she said.
"There's no such thing as talent. You can never put too much practise in. It's the ones who do who make it.
"When my three sons were tiny fellas, I took a course, the only one you could do by correspondence," she recalled.
"It was in Western Australia.
"I worked like a Trojan at that - I'd put them to bed and work through the night to do it, while my husband Alec was often away shearing.
"It was a drag," she said.
"It took me a couple of years to get through it but I did, and it gave me a lot of good groundwork.
"I had wonderful teachers and Alec supported me."
Now she is passing on her own wisdom.
Every Thursday she hosts about 25 people of varying skill levels who gather to make and talk art.
"I really love the teaching thing," McLaughlin said.
"Art is notoriously bad for getting wonderful students.
"You can have lots and you get one now and then - and that's just great. I've had a few around here."
Good artists also possess "a sensitivity about things... having an understanding, an affinity with what they're trying to make".
Alice is inspired by the red centre, a place she has visited many times, and the red earth is a prominent feature in her landscapes.
"Growing up in the country, mum would show me the trees, and dad would show me what the birds were; I think that gave me a good grounding," she said.
"I love light, and in central Australia there's no greater light than out there."
A sculpture of Standley Chasm stands in her shed and catches the sun through the windows, throwing shadows like the real thing.
A selection of Alice McLaughlin's work is on display at the Woodgate Community Hall as part of Arts in Spring and she is the featured artist until the end of next week at the Collective store, next to the Paragon Theatre on Churchill St, Childers.
Artists meet at Alice's studio every Thursday from 9am at 10 Hebbard's Rd, Apple Tree Creek.
Tea and coffee provided.
Bring lunch, stay all day.
Call Alice McLaughlin on 4126 1581.