Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sister Wendy unveils our new painting

Sister Wendy Beckett made a surprise appearance at our place on Saturday night.

The British art commentator of BBC fame dropped by to unveil our new painting – a wedding gift from more than 20 friends.

Arriving fashionably late, Sister Wendy unfortunately missed out on the hors dóeuvres – all gluten-free. I think she would have enjoyed wrapping those bucky teeth around the tandoori chicken, and prawn and avocado rice paper rolls. Instead the South-African-born contemplative nun, who lives in a caravan, had to make do with a few nuts and chips. We did give her a glass of champagne though, which added a bit of colour to her cheeks.

After a bit of poetic licence on my part, telling our guests there would be an artist talk at the unveiling, we were very pleased that Sister Wendy could step in at the last minute. She added drama, humour and glamour to the night, as well as making some very insightful comments on our new painting, Jacaranda by Australian artist Tanya Hoddinott.

Although Sister Wendy had a bit of trouble with Tanya’s surname (and her veil), she was very taken with her colourful, abstract work, which we bought at the Arthouse Gallery in Rushcutters Bay. As she told the gathering of nearly 20 friends, “Tanya told me that Jacaranda is named because of the bluey/violet colours in it.

“She said the jacaranda was a tree she grew up with (in northern NSW) and always loved, and was very missed in her 20 odd years in Melbourne. So it is not that the painting is representative but rather more symbolic.”

Finally, with a bit of help from gallant Bruce, Sister Wendy ripped the paper covering Jacaranda and revealed the work. “Gorgeous,” said Sister Wendy, and we all agreed.

By this stage our visiting celebrity was getting a bit hungry, so Bruce quickly heated up the bolognaise sauce he had prepared earlier from a Stephanie Alexander recipe. He even had some gluten free pasta ready as Sister Wendy said she preferred it to the wheat variety. Sister Wendy very much enjoyed the spaghetti bolognaise as I noticed she returned a number of times for extra helpings.

Everyone else did too, especially the late stayers, Kath and Ian and Rod who at 1am in the morning were dunking bread rolls (not gluten-free) into the bolognaise sauce.

Special thanks to Sister Wendy (aka Fiona), and to all our friends who gave us such a lovely wedding gift that enabled us to buy Tanya’s beautiful painting.

For recipes from the night go to ‘WHAT I AM COOKING’ on the  right of this blog.


  1. Sister Wendy's performance has been heralded far and wide. I first heard rave reviews this afternoon in a cafe in Balmain. Most impressive. Sorry to have missed her local appearance and the gluten free feast.

  2. Yes Jen Fi was great - I mean Sister Wendy - very funny and insightful at the same time. We were only sorry we were missing the tour de france bikerider and her coach. Maybe Sister Wendy will do a private return show for you and Stephen when you come over to dinner to view the new painting.

  3. Rese, great blog it sounded like the unvealing of the painting was a very fun and enjoyable night with of course lovely gluten free grub!! Love mez x