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COFFEE WITH JAQUELINE BURGESS

2515 meets the South African-born artist at Towradgi’s Sketch Coffee & Art, where she has a gallery and gift shop. Woonona artist Jaqueline Burgess paints fresh, modern coastal scenes, often with a playful summery twist – think bright hues and clean lines, beach umbrellas, colourful cossies and big hats. Jaqueline has also recently started an abstract series, which she’s enjoying too. “The Illawarra is my muse, I can’t get over how absolutely stunning this landscape is,” she says, over coffee at Towradgi’s Sketch Coffee & Art. Jaqueline’s mum and dad run the cafe side of this family business, she curates the gallery and gift shop. Collectables include her own limited edition prints – available on paper, cushions, tea towels or silk scarves. Outside is a mural of a stunning sea lady, her beaded necklace a tribute to the enterprising artist’s African heritage. Jaqueline grew up in KwaZulu-Natal and, while studying fine arts in Durban, worked as a chalkboard artist for a restaurant chain. “We’d be up on a ladder, drawing these amazing murals and then writing their menu – and that would change monthly. So that was a constant job for us, in between a bit of modelling on the side too.” At age 19, those chalkboard menus paid for her ticket to London – where she soon picked up more pub board work. “My Mum’s always had that entrepreneurial spirit, so I just grew up with it. And I was desperate to pay rent!” she says, laughing. “Then I decided I wanted to become a children’s illustrator, so I spent months on a portfolio and sent it off to around a hundred publishing houses,

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and I’ve kept all the rejection letters as proof … “It’s still my dream to write and illustrate a kids’ book. It’s going to happen.” Instead, in 2003 Jaqueline found a full-time job via Gumtree as an assistant teacher at Wetherby School and worked her way up to be head of art. “It’s in Notting Hill – it’s where all the Royals used to go, Prince Harry, Prince William... ” She painted a mural there that won her several private commissions to decorate children’s bedrooms. “It was based on my favourite children’s book, Ratty-tatty, it was of a rabbit on a pirate ship, getting attacked by pirate mice. That was in the art room and it was massive – a great drawcard.” Wetherby was where she met her Australian husband, Rob, a sports science teacher. The couple returned home to raise their two children in the sunshine. “Having taught there [in the UK] – the kids don’t get outside, they get 20 minutes a day to run around a square. That’s not the life we wanted.” Which is how they came live in Woonona. “Woonona is amazing. Any walk to the beach or drive up the northern beaches, it’s stop, quick, take a photo. I can see that on a canvas.” FIND JAQUELINE’S WORK: On show at Wollongong’s King &

Ayres, Coledale’s Mr and Mrs Smith cafe and The Other Art Fair Sydney (Oct 24-27). Look for her beautiful prints of native birds at Audley Visitor’s Centre in the Royal National Park. Jaqueline runs regular Bottle & Brush nights – see @sketchcoffeeandart on Instagram, visit www.jaquelineburgess.com 2515

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2515 OCTOBER 2019  

Indie local news mag, hand delivered monthly to homes and businesses in the Thirroul postcode

2515 OCTOBER 2019  

Indie local news mag, hand delivered monthly to homes and businesses in the Thirroul postcode

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