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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackeral Beach

- December 2007 -

Newsletter for Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia Volume 9, Issue 280 December 2007     

Vale Katie Clemson

Artist, musician and yachtswoman Katie Clemson, whose celebrated prints of Pittwater and in particular, her series on Pittwater’s boat sheds exhibited at Tarrangaua in Lovett Bay in 2004, are beloved by many, died in London two days after her last exhibition opened on November 23.

Katie, who with husband Alex Allan, was a frequent visitor to the area over the past decade, had battled cancer for seven years though those who saw her kayaking around the bays with her sketch book, camera and cocker spaniel Holly, would not have guessed that this unstoppably energetic woman was living on borrowed time.

Irreverent and irrepressible, Temora-born Katie had moved to London in 1971, returning to Australia in 1997 when Alex was appointed UK High Commissioner.

She and Alex loved sailing in Woody Point races (and were once involved in a memorable collision with former commodore Michael Moxey’s yacht). The accident belied their sailing accomplishments, as Katie had previously twice competed in the double-handed race around Britain and Ireland, one with a woman friend, Pip Sawyer, and once with Alex in the smallest boat in the fleet.

Her beautiful prints of our area captured the fabric of Pittwater, the wind-ruffled water, the shadows cast by the spotted gums by the long rays of the afternoon sun, the yachts lying against the tide on their moorings in the bays and island inlets.

Both Katie and Alex carried their guitars and mandolins with them and loved bringing them out after a post-race dinner to run through their favourites and those of their friends.

Katie is deeply mourned but her artistic legacy hanging in many local homes is a constant reminder of her talent.

For many, her works will always define the beauty which is Pittwater, just as the sunlit wave-tips will always reflect the dazzling brightness she brought into the lives of those fortunate enough to know and love her here. - Piers Akerman


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