The beautiful Australian landscape, with its huge array of colours and tones, provides accomplished artist Vondee with much inspiration for her work. Having only recently moved to the area, Vondee is holding an exhibition of her work at Masterpiece Framing and Gallery to introduce her talent to Port Macquarie locals and visitors …
Hi Vondee. Fill us in on your back story and how you came to call Port Macquarie home …
Originally I lived in Sydney, where I started painting in the late ‘80s. In 2003, my husband’s company relocated from Sydney to Adelaide, so we moved there, leaving our grown up children and their families in Sydney. After my husband retired, we made the decision to return to NSW to be closer to our families.
On returning from a holiday on the Sunshine Coast, we stopped into Port Macquarie. We had heard that it has the best climate in Australia, so we spent a few days here, fell in love with the place, and bought a house here. We then went back to Adelaide, sold up there and moved to Port Macquarie in October last year.
Where did your passion for art begin?
As a child, I was always interested in drawing and artwork. In my early career I was involved in pottery, setting up design work for decorating and glazing pottery pieces. I was fascinated with the colours and images that were produced. I then moved into millinery, which was another format for designing and creating different shapes, colours and textures.
It wasn’t until later in life that I realised my desire and allowed painting to satisfy my urge to express my passion in interpreting the colourful world in which I live. Mainly self-taught, I spent time under the watchful eyes of Colina Grant for pastels and John Bradley for oils, fine tuning my skills.
I was a member of Castle Hill Art Society in Sydney and became their delegate on the committee of the Combined Art Societies of Sydney, which held Exhibitions at the Sydney Opera House and the National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour. I also attended Art in Action at Merroo, which was run by the Combined Art Societies of Sydney. This is a weekend of workshops each year featuring a host of well-known Australian artists.
The magnificent Australian landscape is a strong feature of your work. What is it about nature and the outdoors that inspires you?
It wasn’t until I started painting that I began to notice the great array of colours and tones in our Australian landscape. When you move away from the cities, the clear blue skies shower the countryside with fresh clean light, highlighting the subtleties of what some people sometimes take for granted.
It excites and satisfies me to be able to express this in my work. There are places in Australia, especially in Tasmania, where every time I turn a corner, I see another painting.
What are some of the materials and techniques you use to produce your work?
I paint in three media, mainly in oils and pastels and sometimes in acrylics. I always use archival paints on primed linen canvases and pastels on coloured textured papers. Depending on the work I am doing, I use a wide variety of brushes and pallet knives and have even been known to apply paint using an old credit card for a special effect.
What are some of the awards/recognition you’ve received for your art?
My work has been hung and sold in both private and public exhibitions and galleries in Sydney, Adelaide and major regional towns in NSW and South Australia.
Public exhibitions include The Sydney Royal Agricultural Show, the prestigious Art of Sydney Awards, Glenelg Fine Art Gallery, the SALA Festival and various District and Regional Art Shows.
My work is now represented in European, Canadian and English collections.
Amongst my achievements are Best in Show Prizes, Section Awards and many commendations and other recognitions at exhibitions in Sydney, Adelaide and rural areas.
In Sydney, I held solo and four person exhibitions, and in Adelaide I held a solo exhibition to introduce my work and to raise money for the Overseas Specialist Surgical Association of Australia Charity.
I have been invited to be Featured Artist at Exhibitions, and in addition to the usual visitor sales, my works have been purchased by sponsors, committees and corporations for use as awards, gifts and prizes.
You have an upcoming exhibition at Masterpiece Framing and Gallery, beginning in July. How long will this exhibition run for – and describe some of the pieces you’ll have on display?
My exhibition at Masterpiece Framing and Gallery will be for the months of July and August.
I am planning to have works exhibited that show my various styles and subject matters. There will be pastel works showing scenes from the Clare and Barossa Valleys, and the majority of the paintings will be oils covering scenes of the Blue Mountains, some river scenes and some local coastal scenes around Lighthouse Beach that I have captured since I have been a resident in Port Macquarie.
I am using the exhibition to introduce my work to the Port Macquarie community.
Where can readers see more samples of your work, or find out more about you?
In my previous two homes I had galleries set up for viewings, but since downsizing when I moved to Port Macquarie, I currently only have my work on show at Masterpiece Gallery, 2/91 Hastings River Drive.
Some images of my work are available on the internet by googling “Vondee Artist”, which will lead to the Glenelg Fine Art Gallery Facebook page.
Otherwise, contact Denise or Allan at Masterpiece Gallery, and they will pass on my contact details.
Interview by Jo Robinson.