What others have said about their experience…
Deeply nourished is how I feel after camping at Palm Valley. I would have happily stayed longer in all that ‘spaciousness’.
There was a kind of simplicity and relaxed informality about the camp that I really enjoyed, sleeping in the swag, Charlie’s recital at the start of each day, very efficient routine with lunch preparation and meal times, as a few examples.
Your art skills and Charlie’s science and natural history knowledge was a tremendous combination which fed my interest in both. For me that was a real bonus of your camp. Great that the art and science book boxes were there. And that Charlie was happy to answer my numerous questions.
I appreciated your encouragement of, and ease with, me going off and walking and drawing on my own. I was interested in things like the book making workshop, but drawing out in the bush is what I needed to do.
Your camps are a tremendous way for someone like me to get to spend time in that amazing country..and draw. The way I feel now, I’ll possibly join your group of ‘returnees’ and do another camp in 2020.
– Annette Mylrea, Palm Valley 2019
Thank you so much for the wonderful experience of Palm Valley. You, Charlie and Anna were magnificent, organised, knowledgeable, fun and so generous. I can’t wait to come back. I really think we got more than our money’s worth! I have a great urge to return, it actually feels like a force that is pulling me, almost out of my control – kinda weird and kinda lovely.
– Eliza, Palm Valley 2019
I had such a wonderful time on the art camp. I seemed to be filled with happiness the whole time. And why wouldn’t I? The country, the colours, the aboriginal stories, the food, the lovely people running it, the artist and the scientist and the lovely Anna, the stars, the Milky Way…….the other artists, the crows, the rocks, the trees, the flies…. I could go on and on. And sitting down in the river bed with the Red River gums, in country.
– Helen Sanderson, Palm Valley 2019
I was extremely fortunate to be asked by my daughter to attend the Running Waters camp on the Finke River in May this year. What an amazing experience. I loved it – we both did.
Deb and Charlie , along with Anna who created all the great meals, did a fabulous job of looking after all of us. Sleeping in netted tents under the starry nights in cosy and warm swags, we were extremely comfortable.
The surrounds of the camp were absolutely stunning and with a fall of rain before our camp , the claypan was in its glory.
It was my first time on such a creative camp and it exceeded my expectations. Deb and Charlie go out of their way to create an experience that will never be forgotten. Deb, wonderfully generous with her artistic knowledge and flair showed us how to naturally dye silk scarves and to use mediums new to us. Charlie with his extensive knowledge of the outback, plants, birdlife and astronomy treated us as we sat around our campfire at night. Discussing the days events over a glass of wine, eating a delicious meal , made for making friends with the lovely group we had. All the while our beautiful scarves were brewing over the campfire!
Thankyou again Deb, Charlie and Anna. I hope we can do another camp with you soon.
– Margie Bailie. Running Waters, May 2019
Thank you Deb and Charlie for a seriously enriching and wonderful experience. You took us to a truly beautiful part of the world on the Running Waters / Finke River camp in a really authentic manner. The landscape was so vibrant and interesting, which made for great walking, painting and soaking it all up! Every aspect of the camp was so well thought out…all the food was wholesome, healthy and tasty; the optional creative workshops were great. I particularly loved the natural scarf dying and the concertina book making; the sleeping in swags was cosy; and most of all you are both really lovely and really generous people. You were both so generous with your knowledge of all things creative, environmental, cultural, and scientific, and so generous with your time. My aim was to come away with a lot of paintings and inspiration for my upcoming exhibitions…I came away with that and a whole lot more. I hope to do another camp with you in the not too distant future!!’
– Paula Jenkins, Running Waters, May 2019
Thanks to you all for a great week at Palm Valley – It was one of the best groups of people I have been with – it was lovely. A big thanks to you Deb and Charlie it has been a wonderful experience for me over the last 4 camps.
– Marikje Gilchrist, 4th time Creative Camper, Palm Valley 2012.
I have been part of 6 Creative Camps now to places I could not have normally been able to get to and have fond memories and reminders from each: one camp at Ruby Gap, 3 camps on the Finke Rv, one at Mpwelarre, and one at Illarari in September this year.
I always look forward to meeting a great bunch of friendly people using their creative skills in different ways. Its good to catch up with our talented artist Deb, always ready to help with any artistic challengers we may come up against with her workshops and informative reminders of things we have forgotten. And Charlie with his intelligence and knowledge about all things in general. Besides that, he’s a good cook and makes great coffee. He works tirelessly trying to make us all comfortable.
Sleeping under the stars should be experienced by everyone even if it’s only once. Any inconvenience goes unnoticed to those escaping the hum drum and ups and downs of everyday life and the results of their artistic endeavours on camp are a reminder of that place and the moment those endeavours were created.
– Maureen Stapleton 6th time Creative Camper
You have created a very clever and unique concept. Using your combine talents and knowledge you have developed an amazing legacy by enabling so many people to have an opportunity to share and enjoy so much in such a short time. Beaut catering, interesting conversation, friendship, art tutorship if required, amazing country, space to just think or reflect and plenty of laughs… sounds like bliss to me, especially since all I have to do is turn up! Thank you Deb & Charlie.
– Penny Townsend, 2nd time Creative Camper, Illarari, 2015
The camp was well organised and efficient. We enjoyed an excellent range of food that catered for vegetarians as well. Real Coffee, nibbles and Cold beer that magically appeared at sunset just when we needed it. Deb, an experienced and talented artist, spent a lot of time organising pre-camp to guarantee our maximum use of creative time, and a chance to explore a variety of media, within a range of experience, where the confident artist and the novice were able to produce their own particular masterpiece. Charlie; chef, ‘professor’ of biology, and poet ‘laureate’ guaranteed our comfort and great food, making sure our outback experience was truly unique.
– Karen O'Toole 2015 Palm Valley
I came with few expectations so everything just flowed on day by day. A great choice of environment and a good balance between active walks and more sedentary creative ‘work’. I love the varied opportunities to experience new (to me) creative modalities: the wonderful inks, beautiful handmade books and natural dyed scarves!
– Robyn Rumph, 2015 Palm Valley
Thank you Deb & Charlie for an amazing experience! Deb for guidance and support in the creative experience , Charlie for the service of delicious food and especially for his knowledge of the arid zone plants, animals, people and history.
– Jackie Becker, 2015 Palm Valley
Thank you so much for a wonderful week and for your caring and compassion that brought me to tears at times. Have done a little writing and hope to get a couple of articles out of the week. And – believe it or not – I am hooked into painting again. Thank you, thank you Deb!! What a privilege it all was to be there with you both.
– Gill Goater, writer and poet, 2010
I’m writing to say how very much I enjoyed our trip to the Devil’s Marbles and how great it was to be right out there in the spinifex with such a lovely bunch of people. And we did such fun creative things which I’m still talking about (as I parade my scarves!). So thank you both for all the effort you put in to make the camp seem so easy and relaxed. Devil’s Marbles was quite an experience and I’m glad we went there…still painting/drawing them, love ’em.
– Marilyn Shennan, 3rd time Creative Camper, Karlu Karlu, May 2015
The experience of camping, living in this magnificent setting, participating in the art workshops, eating delicious food was extremely satisfying. But what I remember most is how Deb and Charlie, our hosts, were so welcoming and extremely generous with what they give of their person. Also so well organised, and knowledgable in both their areas. I have not felt so happy for a long while. Thank you!
– Sylvie Langbein, Running Waters, 2015
I appreciate your organisation of all the essential and extra details of the camp, plus your warmth and heartfelt involvement with each of us participants. Charlie’s great cooking, his poetry and his meticulous organisation compliment Deb’s artistic skills and her nurturing of individuals. You make a great team!
– Rochelle England, Social worker, Running Waters, 2015
I’m constantly reflecting back over that extraordinary week by the Finke, and while at times I felt ‘out of my depth’ surrounded by such accomplished and creative people the experience has left me invigorated in so many ways – ideas are popping all over the place! Thanks Deb for your encouragement and guidance in my artistic beginnings
– Susan Westwood 3rd time Camper, Running Waters 2014
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed our camp at the Finke River. It’s the most relaxed I have been for a long time. Initially I was a bit nervous about camping but I enjoyed every minute. Both of you make it so very easy to have a great time. Thank You
– Jenny Longley 2013
Thank you for a truly special time at Ruby Gap with the loveliest people. It was one of those very rare experiences when everything was much better than I could have thought possible.
– Elspeth Murphy 2013
Charlie and Deb, thank you both so much for your generosity of spirit, your patience, kindness and expertise in so many areas. It was a treat to meet you and a privilege to spend so much time in your company and to see just how good life can be
– Nan McNab, Freelance editor, Ruby Gap 2012
It seemed to us that the organisation reflected not only years of experience but also a very thoughtful concern for the health, safety, comfort and enjoyment for all who were travelling with you. We particularly appreciated help with setting up our tent and the quality of the meals, which we found exactly to our taste. Laurie appreciated the way in which the art activities were organised – introducing her to new ideas, stimulating her to choose new options and in fact giving her painting a new direction. Clear guidance on the best way in which to go about life in the camp also contributed to the wonderful way in which everyone got on together. Charlie also helped with understanding of aboriginal issues and time spent with Margaret and Ricky (Traditional Owners) was an aspect of the week, which we really valued. This has been a holiday we will always remember and we thank you for it.
– Laurie and Barry Andrews 2012
I had a wonderful week at Ruby Gap! First thing I did when I got home was zip out and get some oil crayons. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm, expertise, patience and good humour. You and Charlie, both of you’s ears should be burning because I’m telling everyone what a good time we had and how well you looked after us. It was amazing to be in that wild beautiful bend in the river bed and yet be so comfortable and well fed!
– Elizabeth Honey (Award winning writer and children's book illustrator) 2009
Honestly, Deb, not a day goes by without me thinking of the Finke River camp….mind you, I am still working on my artist’s journal from that week so it’s regularly lying open, with something drying, or waiting to be added to. I’ve also started on a collection of jewellery I’ve called Larapinta Collection, based on the colours & organic nature of the landscape.
– Jude Wagner 2009 (6 months later)
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to experience the Heart of australia and feel at home here. I couldn’t have done it without trusting in two people with the expertise. I loved Charlie’s deep knowledge of the Centre and Deb has kick-started my art career with her generous sharing of her knowledge. A ‘peak experience’.
– Polly Wells, Educator, Ruby Gap, 2008
Our trip has certainly stayed with me, rolling around in my head daily. I am reading a book that I bought at The Red Kangaroo called The Hard Light of Day by Rod Moss. I highly recommend the book. It has certainly prolonged a wonderful trip for me, as I return to Alice and environs every night as I cosy up to the pages and images of this group of people, and remember ours.
– Chris Hutch, 3rd Time Creative Camperr
Charlie your cooking and tireless work was much appreciated. To have a week off from organising food and family was an important part of the experience for me and helped me focus on the landscape. I was a bit nervous about drawing and painting initially, but over the week I found I was enjoying exploring, playing and then producing work. I felt the creative process brought me closer to the landscape which is where I wanted to be.
– Cathy Mulcahy 2008
I am astonished at the amount of pleasure I gained from sitting, watching and attempting to draw/paint what I saw. The enjoyment was in the “doing”, and I can’t wait to have another try – hopefully tomorrow. The other wonderful happening is that Angus has as much enthusiasm as I have for continuing our new found “artistic” lives.
– Anne Young 2008
What a wonderful experience it all was! Thank you for facilitating it so expertly. Images of beauty in unexpected places linger on. I can see why the lure of the centre is so strong.
– Susie Shaw June 2007
This was a really creative camp and a wonderful experience. As an inexperienced camper I had a lot to learn, and I did. The camp has provided time out to consider life and the direction I would like to go in my art. Thankyou for the great walks, activities, meals and facilities. And the knowledge you have both shared with us. Amazing!
– Pippin Magaria Oct 2006
What a week! It has been amazing being part of this wonderful environment, so much more beautiful than I ever imagined. The colours, the light and the tranquillity have a magic all their own. Also being part of an amazing group of creative beings has been a privilege. I go home enthused and filled with new ideas and determined to spend more time with my art. Thanks Deb for sharing your immense creativity and to you both for making the camp so comfortable and easy and for the fabulous meals Charlie.
– Jan Burne Oct 2006
It was wonderful to be able to just draw and ‘be drawn’ into this amazing environment. I felt safe and cared for and free to explore the beauty both physically and visually.
– Lois, July 2005
Thank you for your inspiration and creativity, your generosity in taking us to your special places both in the land and in your artistic and personal work. I am very grateful for your sensitivity in teaching so that I can move forward without detracting from where I have come. I feel opened up without feeling exposed.
– Sue Williamson Oct 03
This has been a wonderful week in many ways…mostly because I feel as if some part of me has been unlocked! What has emerged is a me more brave, carefree and confident. You have helped me ‘see’ more and ‘care’ less!
– Bev Dunphy, Oct 2003