Brian Barker and Rita Carosi from the Hastings Valley Fine Art Association (HVFAA) share their insights on art and detail some upcoming and exciting art exhibitions happening in the local area …
Brian, how long have you been president of the HVFAA, and why did you become involved?
I have been the President now for five years, and this is my sixth term; both Rita and I have been members for ten years. Originally we joined the Association to be more involved with people who enjoyed art and to access the tutorials and exhibitions the Association had to offer.
Since becoming President, I became more involved in establishing judged and sponsored exhibitions, where members are recognised for their achievements. My main goal for the Association is to establish a permanent home, where members can exhibit their work and hold workshops, as at present we hire all our venues. The Association presently has 160 members. Also, I enjoy in assisting raising the level of the Association publicly.
With Rita, your wife, you founded the Hastings Art Trail. How did this come about, and when did it commence?
The idea of the Art Trail came from a couple of us three years ago. Rita and I had spoken to friends from Sydney about an Art Trail in Bundeena, and Harold Le Jeune had the same thought.
He set the wheels in motion in establishing an Art Trail in our region and put the idea to HVFFA members through our newsletter. The present members of the Hastings Art Trail are all members of the HVFAA.
What range of artists and mediums are featured on the trail?
There are 12 local artists, who have home studio / galleries that use a variety of mediums: watercolour, oils, acrylic, pastel, mixed media, and mosaics and jewellery. The artists’ work covers most forms, including contemporary to realism, producing beautiful landscape, seascape, in Australian and European themes, floral, figurative work, colourful mosaics and unique jewellery.
You have an exhibition coming up; when is that?
We have two exhibitions:
The 5th Annual Summer Showcase, featuring the inaugural Mid North Coast Art Prize open to all artists in our region on 29 December to 8 January at Laurieton United Services Club. There will be over 250 paintings on display, with unframed painting and gift cards for sale.
Raffle tickets will be available at the door for a beautiful oil painting called Dawn from North Brother by local artist Jan Wilson.
And Art on Trial at the Historic Courthouse in Port Macquarie, 14 – 16 January 2011. An auction will be held on the opening night, 14 January, of a number of paintings and a mosaic donated by some of the Art Trail members in support of Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
How can budding artists be part of the HVFAA and the Art Trail?
We encourage beginners and advanced artists of any age to become members.
The Association runs at least four workshops a year in most mediums, and we have a life drawing group and a paint out pals that go out painting once a week, as well as a trip away once a year. For information on joining, we have our website: www.hastingsvalleyart.net or you can phone our secretary Janet Burke on 6582 0421.
You are both awarded artists yourselves. Tell us about your own style and achievements.
Brian: I attended East Sydney Art School and obtained a Diploma in Art as a young bloke. My interest and love for art has always been with me, but it wasn’t until I retired that I took it more seriously. Thanks to all my friends in our art group, both Rita and I attend most of the tutorials. I have achieved a number of recognitions for my work, a number of First, Highly commended and Commended at our own and other exhibitions. My style of painting ranges from realism to contemporary.
I paint in Acrylics, with a lot of palette knife work, pastel, but mainly work in watercolour. I discovered this beautiful medium since moving to the region and mixing with some very high standard watercolour artists, who have inspired me to explore the medium. I love painting in bright, clean colours with a limited palette.
Rita: I describe my self as a realist /impressionist artist who tries to convey a story, mood and capture atmosphere in my paintings. I particularly love to paint people and miniatures. I started painting in oils, but after joining and attending workshops through the Hastings Valley Fine Art Association, I now also paint in acrylics and pastel – which I consider a big achievement, as you can never stop learning and improving yourself.
I have won many awards – my latest being First Prize in the Miniature Section in the 43rd Annual Raymond Terrace Art show in August of this year.
What is it about art that you both love?
Rita: I love the way you can express and create feeling in a painting by the use of colour and shape.
Brian: It’s how you observe life and its beauty and translate that to art in any form, whether you paint, draw, write or take a photograph. Some view the world in abstract form, others as identical realism; I paticularly like impressionism. One of my heroes is Hans Heysen. If I got anywhere near that standard of emotion expressed in his work, I would die happy.
How have you seen art and the different styles develop in our area over the years?
There has always been a high standard of art in this area; many artists have varying styles that are pleasing to the public.
What artists have to be careful of is to move on with their knowledge and skills, not just paint to a market. At the end of the day, we paint to express ourselves; if there is a buyer for your work, it is secondary.
There’s an exhibition in early 2011 at the Glasshouse: Living on the Edge …
The Glasshouse Gallery Directors invited the members of Hastings Valley Fine Art Association to hold an exhibition from 28 January to 27 March 2011. HVFAA committee and members chose the theme Living on the Edge, as members could explore the excitement and uncertainty of contemporary life. The exhibition will feature 45 works from a cross section of HVFFA members.
Thank you Brian and Rita.