Thursday, March 19, 2015

Time Out Thursday - Gotta Love A Man Who Collects Art Just For You...

Avril Tremayne is telling the Pink Heart Society all about her obsession with collecting art...

I’m not sure why I’m so obsessed with collecting things – I only know that I am.

Among other things, I have a global collection of fridge magnets, more than 500 snow domes (watch for a future column about those beauties) and oh my goodness, the shoes! 

Enough to keep me busy, right?

Apparently not, because a few years ago I decided to adopt my husband’s biggest obsession as well – collecting art.

A little glimpse at some of the early paintings.
The occasional sculpture!
At the time of the Hon’s marriage proposal, way back in the day, his wall decoration consisted of a few Turner and Monet prints. But bit by bit, he started to become interested in original works, and not being in the market for a real live Monet (that day is never going to dawn), he opted for up and coming Australian artists. 

Before long, he was running amok buying paintings and the occasional sculpture every time he left the house!

If I could buy every Idris Murphy painting, I would!
However, I didn’t have a soul-deep appreciation for the Hon’s fabulous eye until I made the unilateral decision, back in 2009, to accept a job in the Middle East. It was a good job. It was an exotic location. It was going to segue to an idyllic life overseas when the rest of the family felt ready to join me (goodbye Australia, hello Europe!)… 

In short, I was taking that job, come hell or high water.

My entire life has been characterised by making snap decisions and opting to worry about any fallout at a later date. But it never occurred to me that the fallout in this instance would include being horribly depressed at the sight of so many barren, art-free walls in my new living space.

This one's from India - chosen by me!
Not that I didn’t try to make do. On my first visit home, I unearthed every tucked away piece of questionable home decoration I’d amassed throughout my twenties. 

Ancient two-dollar paintings that I assure you are never going to appear on Antiques Roadshow, grainy photographs, my own pathetic attempts at pottery, even an assortment of canvases I’d painted myself (and to give you an idea of my skill levels, my painting teacher once stopped me from continuing with my still life of a hiking boot by telling me it was starting to look like Yeti – and I was not insulted by that!)
Under the TV!
I tried. But I just did not have the knack.  The only think that managed to look good were the snow domes, which took up an entire wall of shelves!

Drastic action was called for – and so the Hon swung into action with the speed of an artistic Usain Bolt. Having run out of wall space at Chateau Tremayne in Sydney, he went on a lightning-fast buying spree on my behalf. I’m not kidding myself that this was entirely for my benefit; he was commuting to the Middle East like a man possessed, and if my virgin walls were distressing me, they were sending him into a near apoplexy of longing. He had to fill those walls! It was a compulsion.

One of the paintings the Hon chose for me.
The result was that I became the proud owner of some pretty spectacular art – and I have a sneaking feeling the Hon was just a little bit jealous.

This one too, now back home from the Middle East
Fast forward to 2015…

In a now-or-never moment, I went drastically off plan again and have now ditched my corporate career to throw everything I’ve got at pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming an author. And although I have not given up my other dream (and never will) of living in Europe - preferably Italy - here I am back in Sydney.

Another one of my faves, thanks to the Hon...

Cue much exuberant re-hanging as soon as the Hon got his hands on my paintings – ladder, pencils, spirit levels, chastisement, blah, blah, blah – which are now insinuated into Chateau Tremayne.

But while those paintings may be on Sydney walls now, they will always remind me of those years when I needed a link to Australia, and especially to my long-suffering husband back home. They also remind me of how wonderful it is to be passionate about something – it doesn’t matter if it’s shoes or snow domes or paintings, or anything else, as long as it brings you a little bit of joy when you’re on your own.

So it’s no mistake that one of the first books I wrote when I was back amongst the full collection, The Contract, has a little bit of an art theme lurking amongst the romance.

My writing nook - only room for the tiny art, but I love it

I’m so happy that a new Random Romance edition of that book is coming out on May 25. And now I’m busily writing a story of one of the other characters from The Contract, to develop that theme a little further. Let’s just say there is one painting in the next book that is going to become very significant…

Do you have a special collection?  And what kind of art moves and inspires you?

Avril Tremayne's art-themed book, The Contract is available now:

Lane Davis has never had time for love. Hard work, dedication and focus got her through uni and now she's a successful economist with qualifications in all areas - except the bedroom.

When a colleague airs those bedroom sheets in public, Lane decides it's time to upskill. She's always studied her way to success, so why not hire a teacher to help her out now? It's just a business deal - three months of private tutoring, no strings attached. Easy - or it would be, if the lessons didn't make her weak at the knees . . .

Her proposed teacher, Adam Quinn, has his own agenda. His sister - one of Lane's best friends - wants him to scare Lane into giving up her crazy scheme. But once he meets Lane, he can't quite bring himself to reject her.If Adam's going to teach Lane just one thing, it's that love can get in the way of even the best intentions...

To find out more about Avril, you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.


  1. I love the reference to Usain bolt. Your blogs are as good as your books. Perhaps the Hon needs to star in one soon? I collect...books! Sometimes signed first editions. I can't wait to hear more from you Avril. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you! Books are the best things to collect - especially if you're lucky enough to have signed first editions. The Hon, I'm afraid, is a shy, retiring type but I might get him on here at some point.

  2. Wow--love seeing some of your art collection. Can't decide what I like best, but the horse painting is enthralling. I collect vintage pens and U.S. presidential pens. It's fun to look for things to add to the collection as I travel. LOVE your books--can't wait to read more. Please keep writing books and blogging!

    1. I do love the horse painting. It's rare for a painting to come out as well in a photo as it does in real life but that one manages it. I'd love to see a presidential pen collection!