Artist of the Outback Creative] Kerry-ann Harvey
How old were you when you started painting and what made you do it?
Although I had always sketched and painted from the time I was a child, it wasn’t until 12 years ago, a year after being diagnosed with breast cancer, that I seriously concentrated on art. I started a course of Botanical Art to help retrain my concentration and deal with stress. Loved doing that for a few years but I felt I needed to paint with more freedom of expression than the very exact scientific style which true Botanical Art expects. But it was a great training ground.
Rust to Rust
Who are your influences?
So many! The astonishing skill and beauty of great Dutch painters like Vermeer, van Gogh, Albert Cuyp’s landscapes and the modernist Dutch painter Charley Toorop, The French Impressionists, David Hockney from England, Australians such as Brett Whitely, Donald Friend, and the wonderful Lloyd Rees. Current Australian artists, Wendy Sharpe and Warwick Fuller.
Steam Monster - $600 - 60cmW x 90cmH
Where in Australia inspires you to paint?
Here, where I live, in the Northern Rivers of NSW. Because it is so green and lush and mountainous, although some people don’t see this area as the “real Australia”. It certainly is.
Inverell in the New England region in NSW where I grew up. The rolling hills, beautiful sheep and grain properties and rows of poplar trees mean “home”.
The local farmers markets are also a wonderful source of inspiration because of the characters and the colourful produce.
Beyond the Gate - $340 - 70cmW x 50cmH
What does painting mean to you?
It is a challenge. It is frustrating but so rewarding when you get it right. I love thinking about each piece and not rushing to finish it. Each painting takes me about a week to complete and I paint most days in my studio with incredible views from the windows and with my beautiful red cattle dog always next to me. I also love to talk to other artists, especially successful ones who are willing to impart their knowledge. You never stop learning and therefore I attend a weekly art class to increase my skills. Whenever I travel I take my watercolours and sketch special places as well.
Inverell - $350 - 60cmW x 45cmH
What makes your art unique?
I suppose I have, over the past 12 years, developed a recognisable style. Absolute realism doesn’t interest me ….. and that’s the good thing about painting. Composition, colour and content can be changed to suit the mood with paint.
My “Rust” series of farm equipment is a fairly unique subject!
As with so many artists, I lean towards a favourite group of colours for most paintings and like harmony with a little drama added. I never use colours straight from the tube especially when doing landscapes; eg, there are usually hundreds of different greens in every view. It’s also fun to go out in the car along the very narrow, potholed, winding roads round where I live looking for interesting subjects and views to paint. A never ending source of inspiration.
What do you find are the most difficult objects to paint? Why?
Painting myself! I always end up making myself look like an ugly old witch when I do self portraits. A shame really, as I am always available to be a model and I don’t have to pay myself to pose! Most people don’t have the time to sit for hours while I paint their portrait so I have moved on to other subjects.
Roll no more - $450 - 60cmW x 60cmH
How do you create your art? What makes you start? How do you know when you are finished?
I never just sit down and start without a plan. A sketch, an idea, a view or one of my many photographs. Everything I paint has a personal reason and I believe you have to love the subject to get a good result. I don’t just paint from someone else’s photograph. I did a series on people I have met at country race tracks a couple of years ago…that was fun!
Rusted Words - $350 - 60cmW x 45cmW
Ahh finishing…that can be a problem. Someone said that it is good to leave a painting 10% unfinished and put it aside for a few days. Amazing how you pick up what needs to be changed with fresh eyes. The trick is to make those changes only and then put the brush down!
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