art gallery

Outdoor art gallery a surprise find

Discovering Kent Barton’s outdoor art gallery on my first excursion at Agnes Water was a good sign I’d made the right choice in agreeing to a three-week house sitting stint in the region.

I’m not fussed on fishing or surfing so what else is there to do at Agnes Water and the neighbouring Town of 1770?

Plenty, said Lisa, the lovely wife of artist Kent Barton.

After greeting me with a warm welcome at their gallery on Bicentennial Drive, Lisa gave me a run-down of Discovery Coast highlights that ranged from a butterfly forest to the 1770 Distillery and Scooteroo chopper rides.

There are also the 1770 Stand Up Paddle tours, LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo) adventures, and the Agnes Water Museum on Spring Road.

I can choose from Lisa’s list later in the week but for today, I was enthralled with Kent’s relatively unique outdoor art gallery. 

His vibrant artworks are framed and mounted on tree trunks and timber fences in landscaped gardens, in a fashion I’d never seen before.

I felt very much ‘at home’ viewing Kent’s artworks that portray familiar aspects Queensland homes, similar to those in which I have lived and seen in various towns and cities across the state.

Kent said his exhibition titled ‘Queensland Dreaming’, consisted of fleeting moments of Queensland life (dreams).

“Some are of particular places and others are a composite, and some are wholly created from experiences,” he said.

“The majority of these artworks are reproduced from my ‘Serigraphs’ (silk-screen prints on paper).

“This is a process where I produce editions of ‘original prints’ by hand painting the stencil for each colour, directly on the silk-screen.

“This process renders a painted appearance, where shading and depth is achieved with solid colours.”

Hailing from Brisbane, Ken’s love of Queensland is reflected in his unique whimsical pictures.

His striking colourful style has attracted many art lovers locally and internationally, and he has won numerous art awards along the way.

Kent and Lisa live in Agnes Water where they own and operate The Lovely Cottages Holiday Retreat, art gallery, art studio, and the Discover 1770 Information and Tours shop.

For more information about the Kent Barton Art Gallery, visit

For 10 things to do in Agnes Water and Town of 1770 visit my blog post on 10 things to do

Visit the website for more information.  

art gallery

art gallery

art gallery

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Recycling old jeans to soothe souls

Out-of-work anthropologist Vickie Hartland has found her groove recycling old jeans to create bears that bring comfort to people around the globe. 

“Making Comfort Bears is my accidental business,” Vickie said when I met her recently at the Cairns Esplanade Markets.

“When found myself out of work, I made a bear for my grandson and put a picture on Facebook then suddenly got orders from all over the world.”

jeansVickie said her Comfort Bears were often used as Grief Bears.  

“People grieving the loss of loved ones have got something they can cuddle.

“When my brother died, his youngest son started sleep walking and we’d find him curled up in a wardrobe or under his dad’s clothes until he got a Comfort Bear.

“For years after my sister lost her husband, she still had his pillow and uniform in a zip lock bag so she could still smell him.

“Another lady whose dad had passed away 10 years earlier still had all of his clothes until she got one of my bears and was able to let go.

Vickie said the Comfort Bears were also ideal for children with autism because they liked a sense of everything the same every day.

“While a child sleeps, you can pop the bear in the washing machine and dryer, then take it back into them and the child never knows it’s gone.”

Vickie’s handmade bears are created from up-cycled denim jeans.

“It’s ridiculous how many jeans end up as landfill. We don’t wear jeans all year round and every season people get new jeans and the old ones end up either in op shops or as landfill.

“My first trade was an upholsterer. I haven’t done it for many years but I’ve gone back to my original skill set.”

You can meet Vickie at the Cairns Esplanade Markets every Saturday, 8am to 4pm by the Lagoon.