Kerry Kranitis – Artist

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Local artist Kerry Kranitis uses mixed media to create her unique pieces. Kerry plans to hold an exhibition of her work entitled the studio within at the Macleay Valley Community Gallery in Gladstone from 2 – 12 May 2013 …

What led you to discover your talent and love for art?
I have known all my life that I have a talent for art. As a child, I was always creating, whether that was by drawing, painting or sewing. I did art all through high school and then went to art school after the HSC, but was enrolled in a commercial art course and wasn’t enjoying it.

I remember the school offered to swap me into a fine arts course, but I was worried about ending up being a poor artist unable to support myself, so I took the safe route and studied education instead. During my twenties and early thirties, I was too busy working and raising little children to have any energy to put into art, but always knew that one day I would get back into it again.
Where do you generally create – do you have an indoor studio, or do you prefer to paint en plein air? 
I have a studio in my home where I do most of my work; however, when I am working on my reclaimed timber assemblages, I work on the driveway and in the garage. I do tend to take over a lot of the house at times!

You’re a mixed media artist. What medium do you most like to work with, and what techniques do you prefer to use?
My art practise encompasses drawing, painting, printmaking and reclaimed timber assemblages. I like to work across mediums, as it challenges me to fully explore the medium and the concepts that I am investigating and assists in developing the work in ways I might not have envisaged.
For me, it’s in the doing that work develops. I usually start a new body of work by drawing extensively. After I have done lots of drawing, I will then progress into another medium, probably painting onto paper, or otherwise painting directly onto board or canvas. After I have done a reasonable sized body of work in this medium I might then start developing some timber assemblages thinking about the ideas and concepts that I have been exploring in drawing and painting. I find that what I have learnt in one medium feeds into the work that I do in the next.
The medium I like working with most?  Each medium provides a different set of experiences; however, I would have to say that I absolutely love the physical act of painting. Being totally immersed in the experience and having several paintings on the go at once… just you and the paint! That is extremely satisfying, and that is when the best work develops. I also love getting back to the basics and looking at an object or a group of objects and just drawing them!

Where and when did you receive the majority of your art training? 
My formal art training came more recently – I have just completed a Diploma in Fine Art at North Coast TAFE. This was extremely beneficial, as it helped me to refine and consolidate all the skills and knowledge that I had developed over the years, as well as developing an understanding of the broader artistic community and where my art practise fits into that.

What is one colour in your collection of paints/supplies you simply could not do without – and why?
I would probably have to say black Conte. Conte is a drawing medium, in between charcoal and graphite. It has a lovely feel to it when you draw with it, and it produces rich, dark tones when you wash it with water. I find I use it all the time for drawing now.

Why are you drawn to still life works … what is it about the relationship between objects and their environment that appeals to you?
We are surrounded by still life objects in our everyday lives, and for me, these objects provide a constant source of visual input. When I look at a table with objects on it, it isn’t the realistic representation of those objects that I want to depict, but the relationship between the objects and their colours, the spaces between the objects, the colours within the shadows, and the light that is falling onto the objects. There is a sense of stillness and order that I like about still life as well.

Please explain how you use reclaimed timber pieces in your work …
My work focuses on the fundamental elements of what I see in the built environment around me, and it is the relationship between colour and form, the subtleties of an edge, the use of space, the build-up of layers to create surface and the subtle glimpse of one colour underneath another colour that I aim to express in my work.
In 2010 I started painting on small square wooden boards and was assembling those to create larger works. I was thinking about building up layers of paint and how I could create different surfaces by rubbing the paint back, but then I came across some old wooden boards and thought, “Why try and create something when those layers and textures can be found naturally in old weathered boards!” A friend suggested I have a look in his shed … I came home with a bundle of old bits of wood, and the first assemblage piece was created!

You’ll be holding an exhibition of your work in early May. What’s the exhibition called, and when and where will it be held?
The exhibition is called the studio within and is being held at the Macleay Valley Community Gallery in Gladstone from 2 – 12 May 2013. Opening night is Saturday 4 May at 6.30pm. There will be live music, wine and nibbles, and I invite everyone to attend!

How many artworks will you have on display, and how varied are the pieces?
I have the whole gallery space, so there will be a lot of work on display. There will be still life paintings and framed works on paper, a selection of my reclaimed timber works and three large relief prints.

Will there be any costs associated with attending the exhibition?
No. The exhibition is free to attend. The gallery is open Thursdays – Sundays, 10.30 – 4pm.

Where can people contact you if they’re interested in your work, or find out more information about the exhibition?

People can contact me by email on People can view my work on flickr at, on Facebook, or in For Good At Home in Port Macquarie.

Thanks Kerry. Interview by Jo Atkins.

This article can be found in issue 89 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus


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