You could easily assume that Ingrid Daniell always lived by the ocean based on the vibrant yet soothing colours and imagery in her paintings. Ingrid and Clifton Daniell were no strangers to the surf coast region before moving from St Kilda to Barwon Heads in 1996. “We shared a van with a friend at Airey’s Inlet – the west coast was always our go-to destination for holidays.”
Their own families were based in Melbourne’s east and south-eastern suburbs. But Ingrid and Clifton were chasing a slice of heaven close to the ocean that would lend itself to family life down the track, and the village vibe in Barwon Heads fit the bill.
Following six months of commuting to Melbourne, Ingrid became the senior designer for Roxy at Quiksilver. With the job came a great social scene and pretty quickly, after connecting with like-minded souls, they were buying a block and building a house in Jan-Juc.
Ingrid says the lesson here is that “nailing the right community and perfect location for you and your lifestyle may take more than one go. But you can only figure it all out by trying. Friends are like family now and we would really struggle to leave.”
Twin son’s Flynn and Archer entered the fray in 2003. From there the community vibe went up a notch. Impromptu play dates and drop-ins brought Ingrid closer to the fellow mum’s and dad’s experiencing the parenting roller coaster together for the first time in their ‘hood. The camaraderie was enduring. The boys enrolled at Torquay primary school, in part because it could best manage Archer’s jumping jack ant allergy, but also thanks to it’s “awesome community. We just love that school,” says Ingrid.
Ingrid’s experience of the region has been “lots of entrepreneurial spirit. Anything can happen, so give it a go. It’s a brave new world here for creative risk-takers.” This sense of creative courage saw Ingrid kick off a highly regarded children’s home ware’s brand. “It’s really hard to balance two business careers with family life long term. There has to be compromise and one needs support from the other in different ways to make it all work.”
Ingrid’s transition to life as an artist is progressing rapidly, with representation by Boom Gallery in Geelong. During her first show in 2015, Ingrid successfully exhibited 15 drop-dead-gorgeous pieces, inspired by local beaches along the Great Ocean Road. Ingrid presented a follow up show in May 2016 and is now aspiring to take her work further afield to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane over time.
Ingrid credits Boom Gallery as being a real hub for supporting and nurturing artistic opportunities. “I don’t think I would have had the courage to do it in Melbourne. Where as here, there’s so much support to help you find a voice” Ingrid says. “I wouldn’t have believed I’d be taking up a studio in Geelong even five years ago,” she says, commenting on how quickly the creative landscape has opened up.
For now, Ingrid has limited time to paint, juggling paid admin work with operating a small accommodation business, nurturing two active (hungry!) boys and supporting a husband with a demanding business.Ingrid’s approach to her work combines the beautiful and clever, adapting to the opportunities she unearths in her adopted homeland, where she is very much now an inspiring local. You can buy a selection of Ingrid’s work online here.