Local Walcha artist Paula Jenkins tells Focus readers about her upcoming exhibition in July at the Walcha Gallery of Art.
Tell us about your involvement with art in Walcha …
I moved to Walcha with my husband 10 years ago, though at the time I had no idea just how much of an incredibly creative community Walcha was. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful group of talented artists, in addition to the Walcha Gallery of Art, which is a contemporary gallery showcasing artists from the region, interstate and beyond. This is where I launched my professional career as an artist, and where I continue to exhibit.
How would you describe your approach to your art?
I am a landscape artist working in a range of mediums, now predominantly oil paint. My upcoming exhibition at the Walcha Gallery of Art this July will include mostly oil on board works, with some gouache on paper pieces completed during a recent field trip to Fowlers Gap, north of Broken Hill.
Colour is a big form of expression for me in my art practice, and I find myself particularly attracted to the warmer palette and more feminine colours. Perhaps this stems from my love of the central interior and the beautiful shades of pinks and oranges that radiate within those landscapes.
I enjoy the process of layering paint in various tones, scraping back, and re-applying, to create depth in a variety of layers and colours. I often start out with more detail, and then begin eliminating until it resembles something I feel comfortable with.
Even though I enjoy working en plein air (a French term for painting outdoors) due to my love of the of the environment and being immersed in the elements, I am predominately a studio painter due to each piece taking a period of time to complete.
Where do you seek your inspiration?
With two young children keeping me grounded, I source much of my current inspiration from the surrounding landscapes around the New England – mostly around the Walcha district. I consider myself to be extremely lucky to live amongst such stunning countryside. I am, however, very attracted to arid and remote landscapes and the vivid colours of the central interior, and I do draw upon inspiration and memories from previous trips to such parts of Australia.
Summarise the last 12 months and what you have approaching …
I held a solo exhibition during September last year at The Moree Gallery; in November I was involved in a group show, Eclectica, in the Southern Highlands; I was a part of the Group Christmas Show at the Walcha Gallery of Art in December; and earlier this year I had artworks included in the Toowoomba Grammar Art Show and a selection of works sent to The Moree Gallery.
During May this year I was a part of a fabulous art field trip to Fowlers Gap, north of Broken Hill, led by acclaimed artists Ross Laurie (from Walcha) and Idris Murphy, which included 20 artists from all over. We painted en plein air all day every day for a week, which resulted in everyone being pushed out of their comfort zones within a remote, rugged and arid environment that provided endless inspiration.
I am now finishing my last pieces for an exhibition to be held at the Walcha Gallery, displaying around 30 pieces, opening Friday 28th July. The body of work is a result of inspiration sourced from the Fowlers Gap trip; a wonderful gorge flight and time spent in the gorges of the New England earlier this year; and the undulating country surrounding Walcha.
Paula can be followed on Instagram and Facebook under Paula Jenkins Art, or can be found via her website at www.paulajenkinsart.com