Friday, March 23, 2012



To say that we were excited at the prospect of meeting Sunshine Coast artist Emma Sheldrake last week was an understatement.  Emma personally delivered her range of quality prints, which now make her artworks accessible to those who may have missed out on a certain original piece, or perhaps cant quite squeeze an original into the budget for now.....but we warn you...once you start collecting Emmas work it can become quite addictive.

For those of you who may have been living on another planet and have not yet discovered Emma, her signature style is a blend of pop art with a blend of eroticism and a dash of mischief all blended into one.  We highly recommend that you look through her website which is now updated and categorised into yearly works, so you can see how her art has evolved and changed through the years.

A new addition to my bucket list is to commission Emma.  The commission section of her website is also worth a look....those lucky, lucky clients.....

Emmas prints range from $100 for 400mm x 400mm sizes in a variety of her works, and we also have 2 styles (Blondie and Amy) for $150 in the larger sizings.  EXCLUSIVE: For a limited time only we have the range of her prints hand signed by Emma....but be quick as these will not last and will be snapped up by those who understand the value of the offer!

I was fortunate enough to snare a few minutes of Emmas very precious time, in between her working on the latest Archibald Prize entry for an interview.  We thank Emma for her time, and hope you enjoy learning a little insight into the artist that is Emma Sheldrake.

Q.  Emma what has been the most memorable reaction a person has had to your work?
A gentleman cried when he saw a portrait I completed of his wife when I presented it. It was very moving.

Q. Has there ever been a real life experience that inspired a particular piece?

Recently my visit to the Costa Rica last June inspired at least 6 current pieces. I was inspired by the energy of the country, the colours and richness of the flora & fauna.

Q. Besides your art, what are some of the things that are most important to you?
Family, friends, nature, gardening, entertaining/cooking, surfing & being in the sea to rejuvenate whenever I can :)

Q. If you could invite 3 people living or not to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook for them? (we know you love cooking).
This is so hard I can’t decide! You always seem tempted to say famous people & so if is the case it would be Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol & David Lachapelle (photographer) for a very quirky dinner. First thing that comes to mind because I live near the beach I would do a Bouillabaisse for main with a good Rose or Sauvignon Blanc Semillon! I would do h'orderves that would be pop/surreal inspired made from seafood/smoked meats/cheeses/vegs served on palettes. For dessert I would do a crazy Croquembouche served with pink champagne with some sour cherry compote with fresh cream and a classic crème brulee as well. Definitely a rich decadent French Mediterranean theme with strong bold colours!!

And on the other hand I would ask to make it 4 people and I would bring back my grandparents. I was the only child and spent a lot of time with my grandparents and had both grandma’s living with my family after both my grandpa’s died. I feel I owe my grandparent’s A LOT of cooking after all the thousands of times they cooked for me and all the recipes they taught me over the years! I miss them so much & they were like brothers and sisters to me versus grandparents! I would cook a good old roast first up with very well prepared gravy & Yorkshire Pudding. For dessert a mean apple pie with fresh berries & ice cream :)!

Q. What is your dream project or subject to paint and why?

Simply someone that I connect with in the eyes. It’s all in the eyes...

Q.  Emma, you are currently completed a piece for the Archibald Prize with subject matter being Kim McKenzie.  How did that come about?

I met Kim through my partner when I recently did a surfing trip to double island point and I was so keen to paint her due to her intense energy & eyes. Whether it’s been navigating a trawler in the dead of night in treacherous seas, surfing 15 foot waves, or pulling 4 metre sharks from nets off the Queensland Coast, this woman is one of the strongest & fearless women I have ever met. I wanted to capture this essence on canvas!

Emmas 2012 Archibald Prize Entry...Kim McKenzie.  
A fisherman's daughter who first found international fame when she started running a shark patrol on the Queensland coast. She went on to become one of the first females to compete against males in the world's biggest surf in Hawaii. 25 years later, she's still making a living in a competitive environment dominated by men - the multimillion dollar spanner crab industry. 

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Ok, so I am supposed to be waiting until next week before unleashing our latest project on you....but we are so happy with the result, in particular the custom made and designed cabinetry in their study.  Our clients have a gorgeous Queenslander at Herston in Brisbane and between them...and us....everyone is thrilled with the result.
More photos to come next week, but in the meantime, heres some snaps of the Study.

From the Verandah looking in....all custom made built-in cabinetry by Charcoal Interiors

Our client now loves this space....

Who would mind working from home when youre in a space like this?

Stay tuned for more of this exclusive Charcoal Interiors project on next weeks Style In The City blog...

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Last night Pete the Greek and I went to dinner with some friends...a great Mediterranean style restaurant and had the nicest fish I thought I would share with you a french version of it that I have cooked many times at home...
This fish would also be great on a bed of baby spinach (uncooked) and a fresh salsa topping in the warmer months.  Enjoy the Autumn version....

serves 6

250g cherry tomatoes halved
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 sprig of thyme, leaves stripped
2tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tbsp extra
80g butter, chopped
1 leek, well washed, white part chopped
1/3 cup (80ml) white wine
1tbsp white wine vinegar
1tbsp cream
6 x 100g snapper filled pin boned
24 asparagus spears

1. Preheat oven to 120C (100C fan).  Place tomato, garlic, thyme and a pinch of caster sugar in a large baking tray.  Add oil and toss to combine.  Arrange tomatoes cut-side up.  Season well.  Roast 1hr 45 mins.
2. Meanwhile, melt 20g butter in a frypan over low heat.  Cook leek, covered, about 5 mins.  Add wine and vinegar.  Increase heat to high.  Simmer for 3 mins or until reduced and syrupy.  Remove from heat.  Using a hand blender, blend until smooth.
3. Reheat leek puree over medium heat.  Add butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly, until combined.  Add cream and whisk until sauce thickens slightly.
4. Meanwhile, heat extra oil in a frypan over high heat.  Season snapper and cook, skin-side down, for 2 mins or until crisp.  Turn fish and cook a further 1  min until golden.  Steam asparagus 2 mins or until tender.
5. To serve arrange asparagus spears on each serving plate.  Scatter around semi-dried tomatoes.  Top with snapper and spoon over leek cream sauce.



Last weekend, Pete the Greek, myself and some friends discovered Bitter Suite Bar and Restaurant at New Farm in Brisbane.  Its a great place to eat with a super selection of Tapas style meals (share plates seem to be all the rage complaints here...) and a very extensive list of Boutique style happy boys and happy girls.  A fun afternoon was had by all (hope we didnt outstay our welcome....we hung around for about 5 hours...) and we capped off the afternoon/early evening with our new fave...The Espresso Martini.

  Because it was so close to St Pats day, ours had a cinnamon Shamrock on top of the froth.  The aroma hit of cinnamon and coffee....ohhhh beeehave!
And so here is our version of the Espresso Martini.  Try making one this weekend as they are a hit of coffee, alcohol and dessert all in the one glass.


1 oz Coffee Liqueur
2 oz Vanilla Vodka
2 oz Freshly pressed espresso Coffee

How to....
Pour coffee liqueur. Vodka. and espresso into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled Martini (cocktail) glass. and serve. The drink should be slightly frothy.   
If you want to be super fancy and impress your friends then garnish with a couple of roasted coffee beans, or better still, the chocolate covered ones....oh my!...prepare to be up all night!


Until next week...have a fabulous kind to yourself and rest up if your weeks been a big one.
In the words of the great Jim Stynes who passed away this week "You realise your family - my kids and my wife Sam - they are everything to me. It's not just enough to say it - you've got to live it."   Sooo Just Live It...why do we always need to be reminded of these things?

The Charcoal Team....Colette, Cathie, Jen and Brian....