artist belynda henry

Not only is Belynda Henry a celebrated artist (she has been a finalist in the Wynne prize), but she has a tremendous output. She has just finished paintings for her 20th solo show, which will be held at the Richard Martin Art gallery in Sydney's Woollahra. The works are created on her property in the lush valley of Dooralong on the NSW Central Coast. It is here that she creates both paintings and sculptures, and finds inspiration from the landscape. While Belynda has been capturing the world around her for the past 15 years, her latest works are a slight departure in style. She's embracing blocks of colour, influenced by Australian tonal painters such as Max Meldrum, Clarice Beckett, Polly Hurry and Colin Colahan.

I am honoured to be opening her latest exhibition, and celebrating Belynda's achievement. If you would like to join me, please come along on Wednesday 22 February at Richard Martin Art from about 6pm.

Which five words best describe you? Messy, focused, painter, loyal, mum.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I just loved art at high school and really all I wanted to do was go to art school. I somehow got into Sydney College of the Arts (Sydney University) to do my Bachelor of Visual Arts. I majored in sculpture, but was fascinated by the painting students, I was always intrigued by their studios. After that I graduated with a teaching degree and became a visual arts teacher at a high school. I loved teaching but really all I could daydream about was being a full-time painter. My dreams came true in 2000, I had a baby girl, Chloe and landed my first representation with an amazing gallery called Libby Edwards galleries. I learnt to believe in myself, and never give up. I resigned from my teaching position and have been a full time artist ever since. I am now represented by a beautiful gallery, Richard Martin Art, Woollahra. I have working towards an exhibition for the past year. "Colour my world" opens 18th February, 2012. This will be my 20th solo show!
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To appreciate the moment, be modest, listen to others and only talk about yourself if people ask.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Being hung as a finalist in the Art Gallery of NSW Wynne prize, (and hanging out with Edmund Capon).
Who inspires you? Michael and Chloe who always believe in me. The people in my life who are passionate, happy and always believe in themselves. I have a long list of favourite artists that inspire me. It's hard to mention a few: Louise Olsen from Dinosaur Designs, her dad John Olsen all the way to Guy Maestri, Elisabeth Cummings, Idris Murphy, early Australian impressionist painters. Oh gosh I could fill an entire page. Also, although I paint for myself - it's something that I just have to do - it really inspires me when someone out there in the big wide world falls so in love with something that I have created that they have to have it. That really moves me.
What are you passionate about? My two gorgeous girls, Chloe and Milla. My best friend and husband Michael. Art. Things that happen for a reason. Champagne and coffee. Beautiful and stylish objects and interiors. Creative, optimistic people.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Mmm. I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of extraordinary Australian artists by attending opening nights, so I have crossed lots off my list. 10 years ago I would of said Tori Amos; I cried at her concert because her music was so moving to me. Today I would love to meet Louise Olsen.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Show our daughters our favourite sites in Europe. Celebrate a birthday in Paris. Live a healthy, happy, long life with my family.
What are you reading? Well, I paint most nights till late, so I only read just before bed. I just finished Kate Morton's, The Shifting Fog and Forgotten Garden. My mum, sister and sister-in-law are all in the same book club, so I'm lucky, they keep giving me piles of amazing books. During the day I go crazy for blogs, Daily Imprint is my favourite. I also love decor8, greige, The Design Files. Oh, and also interior design magazines, which I can't live without. Oops. I can't forget the many children's books I read to my girls every day.

images courtesy of belynda henry