I would like to introduce you to Cherie Lidbury who is a New Zealander by birth but she has lived most of her life in Western Australia. She currently lives and works in Newcastle, 160 km north of Sydney. In 2002 Cherie received her Honours degree in Painting from Curtin University, Perth and has taught fine arts and in particular life drawing and has been creating artwork in her own style.
She has a strong background in drawing, and has been trained in the traditional Atelier which is dedicated to the continuance
of Classical and Realist drawing and painting. Cherie adores the Renaissance era and highly respects the Masters like Da Vinci,
Michelangelo, Titian and de Ribera. A few years ago Cherie had the opportunity to live in Florence, Italy for 12 weeks so
she could attend the Summer Workshop program at the Angel Academy of Art where she learnt painting techniques by the
Italian Master, Caravaggio. Cherie still uses these techniques in her paintings today.
Cherie is also a Naturist, having discovered the beautiful Swanbourne, clothes optional beach in Western Australia where she used to go down, strip off and enjoy the beach – often on her own. Having the role of a Sales Consultant at that
time, she took the opportunity, if there was time between calls, to visit Swanbourne and relax have and some lunch before returning to work. The great thing with the Naturist experience is that it can be quite impromptu, all that is needed is just a towel.
Cherie met her husband Mark, who was visiting from New South Wales and she found that he also enjoyed the clothes free lifestyle. In fact one of their first dates was at Swanbourne Beach. Time passed and Cherie decided to join Mark in Newcastle where they started going to Birdie Beach on the Central Coast, which she says “is one of, if not the most beautiful beach in the world.” Cherie and Mark have travelled and visited many Naturist beaches in Europe and have visited what has been reported as their best beaches and concluded that Australian beaches are really hard to beat.
On a trip visiting the South Coast of NSW, Mark surprised Cherie by booking a stay at River Island Nature Retreat. Having
only enjoyed the Naturist Beach scene before, they were not sure what to expect but they embraced this new experience from
the very start. As Cherie said: “I fell in love with it, not only the environment but all the people who have such wonderful
attitudes…we had such a great fun time”. They then became regular visitors to River Island and now have a cabin there.
Indirectly, their frequent visits to River Island provided the spark that lead Cherie to strike out on her own and concentrate
full time on her artwork rather than teaching. Initially she transferred some of her paintings onto high quality T-shirts and
these were received very well. Comments from friends down at River Island led to her being commissioned to paint portraits
for three Naturist friends who wanted the work to reflect their personalities. They wanted them to be vibrant and have their
favourite colours in them. Cherie’s paintings are full of colour, so she was happy to oblige, the only difference being that the colour was now poured onto the support laying on the floor, as well as being painted directly onto the canvas.
As Cherie says “the reaction to people seeing their commission is something that is very emotional, it is amazing!”
So this encouraged her to pursue her passion full time.
I asked Cherie if her Naturist experiences had helped with her artistic endeavours? She replied: “Most definitely, I have no
hang-ups whatsoever about painting all body types and painting the figure. It is a celebration of the body.” “… the Naturist lifestyle has taken us all over, not only Australia, but the world. We have travelled to Europe, cruised the Greek Islands with Naturist friends and have recently enjoyed a nude cruise in Thailand.”
All these experiences have added to Cherie’s world views and changed the way that she approaches her art. On the commercial side of things, deciding to go “full-time” and being successful enough to ensure that it is sustainable, required that Cherie and Mark test the market to see how Cherie’s art would be received. They did this by setting up a stall at the Rocks Markets in Sydney. They sold not only the T-shirts based on her art but also limited edition prints, as not everyone is able to afford an original work. She also sold her original works and offered her availability to do commissions.
Fortunately this has proved to be successful and highlights that Cherie’s work has universality to it. Some of Cherie’s art has an erotic overtone, which is also an expression of life and different life journeys. In fact her painting ‘All Over You’ (which for copyright reasons cannot be reproduced here but can been seen on Cherie’s website) was entered into the Creative Nude Art Competition 2014. This is one of the largest juried art competitions worldwide in the field of sensual nude art.
Cherie was successful and her painting is featured and published in “The World’s Greatest Erotic Art of Today – Vol. 5” and her painting was showcased in the ARTundressed 2014 exhibition in Miami, Florida USA.
In a well-executed work of sensual art there will be a connection between the work and the viewer. This is tapping into the sexual side of our shared humanity and is why it has been the subject of artists for millennium. Some of Cherie’s work that she showed me captures these evocative moments of her subjects and it is as if the viewer is invited to view this very intimate moment. Not in a voyeuristic way, but more in a way that brings out our own remembering of connecting with a similar intimacy.
Cherie has a wide range of subject matter, styles and materials that she combines and works with producing original and stunning works of art. However it is her treatment of the human form that is most special and I believe that her Naturist experience has added greatly to this.
If you are looking to commission an original portrait or even a more sensual “boudoir” piece, I would highly recommend contacting Cherie to discuss your requirements.
At the very least visit Cherie’s website where samples of her work can be viewed:
The prints and t-shirts are available from:
Cherie can be contacted on 0408 409138
Artwork Photographs by Cherie Lidbury
Portrait photographs by Dare Images (Garry Ferzer)
Article from TAN Magazine Issue #69