NEW BOOK: Mike Rubbo will be in Coffs Harbour to share his new book.
NEW BOOK: Mike Rubbo will be in Coffs Harbour to share his new book.

Mike Rubbo reveals the backstory to Travels with My Art

THE next Author Talk at Harry Bailey Memorial Library, Coffs Harbour is a chance to visit the past and live in the now with an eye to the future thanks to the highly talented and fascinating Mike Rubbo.

"All that in the space of an hour," the Avoca-based documentary film-maker, artist and author said chuckling at that description of his talk.

The Emmy award winners' presentation is set for the library in Duke Street, Coffs Harbour on August 30 from 6pm-8pm and will include an hour-long power-point presentation about his book Travels with My Art. It is a book about his life through his painting.

And according to Mike each painting has a story all of its own - and so an anecdote about each sits beside every picture. Together they build up a picture of a man and his life both here and during his 30 years in Canada where he lived until 1996 before returning to Australia to become the ABC's Head of Documentary.

"In the late 1980s, I made a feature film called, Vincent and Me, which won an Emmy," Mike said.

"For that film, I painted 30 copies of van Gogh's paintings, the originals not being accessible. I'd never much painted in oils before and so it was a real challenge. But the results turned out well and they led me to realise that I loved Vincent's style of painting, and that I wanted to get outside in the sun and the wind like him, have breezes buffet my canvas, bugs land in the sticky wet paint, and pick up on the force fields that are out there in nature and which he talks about in his letters to his brother, Theo.

"I had come to a turning point in my life. Painting plein air as it's called, was so much fun that I discovered, that I liked it almost as much as film making.

"Now, many years later since I've kept virtually all the paintings I did in the Impressionist way, I've been able to put them together in this book to see what they add up to, to see what I've discovered.

"I guess the main discovery is that every painting has a story to tell. Often we don't know why an artist did a particular work. But I'm able to tell the stories and do so in the book."

 But when bush fires threatened where the paintings were stored he knew he had to do something to preserve them and the idea for the book was born. He has promised that one day he'll also display them at a Central Coast Gallery. But until then his beautiful book is the best way to enjoy them and the stories about how they came to be and his talk is a great chance to learn more and hear some of the stories from the man himself.

At the end of his presentation Mike said he'll talk about his next project aimed at bringing the great works of the world to people who might never normally see them, us, via the use of LED screens - a chance to see and experience more than a flat lifeless print without the crippling expenses of travelling such precious works.

For more information on Mike and his work visit

His book "Travels with My Art" will be available for sale on the night.

What: Author talk with Mike Rubbo

Where: Harry Bailey Memorial Library, Coffs Harbour.

When: 30 August 6pm-8pm

Interested: The talk is free, books essential through

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