I’ve had many studios over the years, always away from home.  Most of the time I’ve been in shared studios in divided up factory spaces, always hot in summer, cold in winter. Five years ago I moved up onto the Murray River and since that time I’ve worked from home.  My house became the studio, a drawing desk and easel in the loungeroom looking out onto the river, a table for making monoprints in the dining room looking up river to the lock and the Murray/Darling junction, and more recently the garage became a print studio after I bought my own printing press. 

Working with a view of the river and redgums

I remember when I first found my house on the river my sister looked at the view and said ‘how are you ever going to get any work done?’ With great difficulty is the answer – I sit at my desk and next thing I know I’m out on the lawn photographing a passing goanna or pelican. Right now the print studio is being completely weatherproofed and lined so I’ll be able to work in it year round.  As I write, the backyard has three large 4WDs and two huge trailers banked up as three tradies line and insulate the walls of the garage, so soon I’ll have a brand new weatherproofed studio away from the house, big enough to house all my different areas of artwork.  It has a wall of glass sliding doors and new windows looking down river to the west so I’ll have sunsets to enjoy.   

Look at all that natural light coming in 

The print studio is where I hold workshops. It is called Riverbank Press and I hold classes in monoprint, collagraph prints and more recently eco dyeing with eucalyptus and other leaves found here on the property. 

Elise Hurst and Gabrielle Wang
on an illustrators weekend –
doing an eco dyeing workshop 

Eco dyeing – I’m using eucalypts from my garden and printing them directly onto fabric or paper by wrapping and boiling or steaming methods. Unexpected colours can result, it’s always exciting taking a wrapped bundle out of the copper and seeing what has happened – and there’s the added bonus of eucalyptus perfumed steam. 

Living here has a great influence on my work. The birdlife and the riverscapes have found their way into my books. My current book Swan Lake is set in this location, and I’ve used the local wildlife and scenery as the setting for this classic ballet story.  I’ve added pressed flowers from my garden as collage and emu feathers given by a friend create one of the landscapes. 

I’ve always loved Swan Lake. Its story of first love, betrayal and loss and the eternal battle between good and evil is to me the ultimate fairy tale.  When I first came here the ideas for the book just fell into place, I’ve used the river, the trees, leaves and birdlife in  the work in a variety of mediums and print techniques.

The view towards Adelaide from my riverbank 
a monoprint 

Pink flowers from my mother’s collection and white agapanthus from the garden for the Swan Queen stuck directly onto finished monoprint

A direct print of emu feathers layered over a charcoal drawing in Photoshop 

The view from my front lawn – it’s a truly beautiful tranquil place to live and work 

Recently I got home from a two week residency at Varuna, the beautiful writers’ residency in the Blue Mountains. My studio there was a first floor sunroom looking straight out into autumn trees – those residencies are so productive, the total immersion in the work and the opportunity to sit with the other four residents to discuss our work over dinner each night is truly valuable time. 
I finished work on my next book. Written by Jackie French, ‘When the War is Over’ is a series of four line poems about homecomings from the wars Australians have served in. It gave me the opportunity to use a variety of mediums and right now I’m working on the cover.

From ‘When the War is Over’ by Jackie French, to be published by HarperCollins 2019

Anne Spudvilas is an award-winning illustrator of children’s books and an established portrait painter who has also worked as a courtroom artist for the Melbourne media. 
Her first picture book The Race was awarded the Crichton Award for Illustration and  CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia) Honour Book. In 2000 she won CBCA Picture Book of the Year with Jenny Angel.  
In 2008 The Peasant Prince won the NSW and Queensland Premier's Awards and the ABIA award for Younger Readers. 
Anne's portrait of Leigh Hobbs, creator of favourites Old Tom and Mr Chicken, was a finalist in the 2000 Archibald Prize. 
In recent years  she has included printmaking in her practice with an emphasis on etchings and monoprints. She lives on the confluence of the Murray and Darling Rivers at Wentworth in New South Wales where she holds workshop at her print studio, Riverbank Press. Her latest book Swan Lake is her first solo project and she has used the Murray/Darling riverscape and birdlife as inspiration for the monoprints and drawings. 
A 9 min film about Anne's illustration process by Jen Douglas for ABC Open.
Books Illustrated offers a range of original illustrations, limited edition prints and signed books by Anne Spudvilas. 
View limited edition prints available for sale by Anne Spudvilas

View signed books available for sale by Anne Spudvilas
Anne's blog: www.annespudvilas.blogspot.com.au 

Riverbank Press and Anne Spudvilas 


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