Alan Baker Art Gallery at Macaria
Gallery Now Open
The doors of historic Macaria have reopened based on the latest NSW Government guidelines. A maximum of 20 people are allowed in the Gallery at one time. Visitors are required to sign in and out, use hand sanitiser on arrival and are reminded to please continue to follow social distancing guidelines, practice good personal hygiene and get tested for COVID-19, even if showing mild symptoms.
The Alan Baker Art Gallery in Camden is situated in the historic Victorian Gentleman’s Townhouse, Macaria, and showcases the work of local Australian artist, Alan Baker.
This collection of Baker’s art provides a colourful portrayal of the artist’s life in 20th Century Australia. Through tragedy and joy, it tells a story of Australian life, culture and artistic journey.
Through our collection and program of public art workshops in Camden, the Alan Baker Art Gallery has established itself as a vibrant part of Camden’s cultural precinct. The Gallery is a space which connects local artists in Macarthur, fosters emerging artists and promotes art in Camden.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Address: 37 John St, Camden
Phone: 02 4645 5191
Portraits of Camden
Baker's prolific collection of works depict a raw and real beauty through the timeless medium of charcoal. Arresting emotion and vulnerability in composition, his heavy black strokes and fine lines capture the soft tonal transitions within his detailed and organic reflection of the model before him.
As a suite of works, Portraits of Camden displays Baker's finesse as an artist. Inspired by the great charcoal artists of the Renaissance period, Baker unknowingly depicts the history of Camden Art Group by capturing its founding members. His deft use of this medium is represented in the volume of charcoal works he produced during the 1970s and 1980s.
In the early 17th century, the use of charcoal as a medium was discovered in French cave paintings where images were created using burnt sticks on rock. Over time, charcoal has been used by artists in preparatory drawings as well as more refined, textured and traditional works. When Baker's artistic passions were being unleashed, artists such as Matisse and Picasso brought charcoal into the mainstream as a more common fine art medium.
As a professional artist, Baker is celebrated for his influence on the Camden cultural scene. Partaking in regular Wednesday evening gatherings in the Kindergarten classroom of Camden Public School, Baker contributed to the establishment of the Camden Art Group. He generously shared his technique with fellow members and in many cases he tutored and inspired Camden's most acclaimed artists.
Portraits of Camden features 40 delightful charcoal drawings executed by Alan D. Baker during Camden Art Group sessions.
Check out the video below for a virtual walk through the exhibition.
Portraits of Camden was opened on 12 March 2020 by Mayor of Camden Theresa Fedeli and guest speaker Nola Tegel.
Local artist Gary Baker, son of Alan Baker, invites you to join him as he walks through his fathers ‘Portraits of Camden’ charcoal exhibition.
The exhibition features 40 delightful drawings executed by Alan Baker during his time with the Camden Art Group during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Alan Baker participated in these sessions every Wednesday evening at the Camden Public School. As an adolescent Gary joined with his father and mother alongside many of Camden’s established artists eager to develop his artistic skills.
Recorded within the Alan Baker Art Gallery, Macaria, Camden.
Drawing Skills #1
Welcome to the first in a series of foundational drawing workshops brought to you by Alan Baker Art Gallery. Suitable for all ages, join us to be inspired by Alan Baker’s pencil drawing as we explore light and shade in still life composition.
Alan Baker was prolific in his creation of pencil still life drawings and inspired many locally renowned artists to follow in that tradition. The first four years of Baker’s study at the JS Watkins Art School in the 1930s was dedicated to drawing. The development of those foundational skills is evidenced in the magnificent works displayed within the Gallery.
Drawing Skills #2
Welcome to the second in a series of foundational drawing workshops brought to you by Alan Baker Art Gallery. Suitable for all ages, be inspired by Alan Baker’s floral painting ‘Red Roses in a Chinese Bowl’ by sketching this still life floral arrangement.
Alan Baker was prolific in his creation of still life floral paintings with an excess of 500 floral paintings and digital images in the Gallery archives. Baker completed his last floral painting entitled ‘Red Roses’ the day he died in 1987.
Share your creations on social media using #alanbakerartgallery or email email@example.com
Drawing Skills #3
Welcome to the third in a series of foundational drawing workshops brought to you by Alan Baker Art Gallery. Suitable for all ages, be inspired by the majestic interior of historic Macaria’s grand hall.’ Explore the techniques of drawing in perspective, developing observation and drawing skills.
Drawing Skills #4
Welcome to the fourth in a series of foundational drawing workshops brought to you by Alan Baker Art Gallery. Suitable for all ages, be inspired by Alan Baker’s landscape painting ‘Mowbray Park Landscape’ - a peaceful rural landscape.
Throughout his career Alan Baker captured the Australian landscape in his raw ‘en plein air’ style, recording many local natural and built environments of the 20th century.
Alan Baker Art Gallery - Annual Public Program 2020
Alan Baker Art Gallery is excited to facilitate a full program of workshops, classes and events in Camden which cater to both children and adults. These classes and creative workshops in Camden draw on the knowledge and experience of local artists and art teachers and should be top of your ‘things to do in Camden’ list. The Alan Baker Art Gallery art classes in Camden town centre are a great way to meet friends, learn new skills and engage with Camden’s art community.
Programs for Kids:
School holiday workshops
Alan Baker Art Gallery runs a series of art workshops during the school holidays for children aged 5 to 12 that will help unleash your young artist’s talent. Modelled upon Alan Baker’s artworks, practices, and influences, these hands-on workshops are bound to keep your children entertained and staying creative throughout the holidays. Find out more and book here.
Art After School
Harness your budding artist’s potential with our Art After School classes. A 10-week program of art lessons for primary and secondary aged students, these children’s art classes offer a term of creative workshops in Camden, designed to encourage children to explore the real and the imagined while learning various art-making techniques. Find out more and book here.
Programs for Adults:
Come and improve your Drawing Skills! This foundational course is run by local artists and art teachers and will teach you the drawing skills required to improve all areas of your artistic practice. Find out more and book here.
In this 10-week watercolour art lesson in Camden, you will be led through the basics of watercolour painting in a supportive and friendly environment. Beginners and experienced students are encouraged to attend. Find out more and book here.
Life Drawing (18+only)
Life Drawing workshops are held on the third Thursday of each month. This Life Drawing class in Camden is suitable for all levels of experience. Be guided by professional artists and art teachers and take the opportunity to capture the nude figure in this beautiful setting located in Camden’s town centre. Drawing materials and light refreshments provided. Find out more and book here.
En Plein Air
Our En Plein Air, held on the first Saturday of the month, workshops are a great way to get started painting in the great outdoors! Channel your inner Baker as you explore ways to represent landscape and experiment with painting, while capturing iconic Camden scenes. Under the guidance of local artists you will be encouraged to complete your own artwork during this casual landscape painting class. Find out more and book here.
Join us and learn about the history of Camden at our Heritage Drawing workshop. From the grounds of beautiful Macaria, you will learn the techniques of architectural drawing while observing Camden’s heritage buildings. For history buffs and aspiring artists alike, this workshop is held on the fourth Saturday of the month and welcomes all abilities. Find out more and book here.
Macaria, which today houses the Alan Baker Art Gallery, has been a prominent feature in Camden since the town’s infancy. Originally built in 1859-1860 as a school house by Henry Thompson, the building has since been used for many things; including a private home; the Camden Grammar School; the residence and rooms of doctors and dentists including popular local physician Dr Francis West. In 1965 Macaria was purchased by Camden Council and used as Camden Library and later, offices for the Mayor, Town Clark and staff.
Macaria is a fine example of an early Victorian Gentleman’s Townhouse. Designed and built in the Picturesque Gothic, Renaissance Revival style, Macaria features gabled windows, high chimneys, stone trims and a wooden porch. Sympathetically renovated and restored in 2017, the historical features including the oregon timber flooring, Australian cedar architraves and mahogany skirting boards have been retained.
Macaria is also significant in the folklore of Camden. Tales two ghosts, Sarah and Billy, who are rumoured to wander Macaria’s halls, are an enduring part of Camden’s mythology. Fortunately, Gallery staff have reported no sightings.
The Alan Baker Art Gallery has been delighted by the creative young minds of Camden. Since the Gallery opened, many aspiring artists walk through the door and sit in the Still Life room to draw while parents enjoy the paintings. With pencils, paper and a clipboard, children of all ages and skill levels have been quick to sketch some beautiful images in the space. They take inspiration from our changing still life displays, Baker’s beautiful collection, or simply express ideas straight from their imagination.