Remember me

Burnie Coastal Art Group

January 2014 - Eleanor Austin


 RA 2-1 1

I trained as a Home Economics teacher and for the last 19 years was involved in senior management and teaching in the creative arts/technology area at Wynyard High School.
The eighties proved to be a productive decade for me with solo and group exhibitions, bi-centennial exhibition pieces, artist in schools program and award winner for the Clarence Acquisitive Art Exhibition. At this stage, I also had a small creative art jewellery business with state-wide distribution.
My teaching experience ranged from primary through to tertiary classes, with adult education often filling evenings and weekends. My passion for the creative arts, led me to travel interstate regularly to attend forums featuring specialist international tutors.



What got you started into painting?
I have always created  -    cutting, sewing, pasting, constructing, drawing, arranging, collecting 'bits' that to me were appealing.
Painting with acrylics/oils etc, started with retirement.
Do you have artistic pastimes outside your art?
Can conversation be considered an artistic pastime? I need social interaction to feed my enthusiasm and understanding of what life is all about. 

Do you belong to any art groups or associations?
I have a sense of community and belief in wanting to contribute  -  perhaps it is my teaching ethos in wanting to facilitate a learning pathway.
I am involved in the Burnie Arts Council and Friends of Burnie Arts Council
I also paint with the Margaret Brown weekly art class at Banksia Park.

What do you get out of your association with BCAG?
I am a new member, but have been impressed by the genuinness and decency of members in their efforts to make a difference to not only their artwork, but for others too.  "The arts" are an essential component of a healthy community. Without the arts, community spirit is diminished.  I admire the association in maintaining a strong profile in Burnie and contributing to the city's wellbeing.

Do you have a favourite or preferred medium and what attracts you to that medium?
During the 80's I spent a lot of time involved in teaching, practicing and understanding dyes and printing making (cyanotype)  -  working with fabric  -  (patchwork quilting) Since retirement, I have been taken in by the texture of acrylics, but lately, I love 'squooshing' with oil paints and being absorbed in the mark making of oil sticks.
What inspires you to paint?
I am an emotional painter  -  stirred by conversation or visual images that resonate with my current thoughts.
What is the excitement you get from painting?
My mother would play the piano when she needed to release some inner stress.  -  for me, I like to engage with the canvas!!
What are the elements you look for when selecting or choosing a subject to paint?
It has to feel right. I must emotionally engage in the subject matter.

Do you do any en plein air?
Very little

What was your most rewarding or memorable painting moment?
In an exhibition  following a  2 week workshop at the Toowoomba Summer School (Univ Darling Downs) and having 3 galleries seeking to represent my work as a result.
What awards have you won?
2012 TasArt exhibition winner (McLean McKenzie and Topfer acquisition award)
1988 Clarence Bicentennial Acquisition Art Award (textile)
1982 Fibre Award Circular Head Arts Festival
1981 Fibre Award Circular Head Arts Festival
Burnie Show: pastel drawing grade 5   -  (does this count….?)

How would you rate the TASART 2013 as an exhibition?
Organisers of Tasart should be justifiably proud in continuing this fine tradition of encouraging artists, and providing a forum for work to be exhibited. It is an exhibition displaying diversity and current modes of art  direction.
As an exhibiting artist, Is there anything 'unique' about the TASART?

Making it possible for artists to have their work hung in the great surrounds of the Burnie Gallery  -  It is unique amongst regional galleries.
Who is your favourite artist or role model?
Elizabeth Cummings  -  I am delighted and amused to know her age and that there is hope!
Joan Kelly and Margaret Brown  -  both at some point gave me words of encouragement about 'keeping on going'.
Do you have a favourite art reference?

I do become absorbed in reading about the 'known names' in modern Australian art and have a particular sympathy for many women artists who seem to have struggled to get due recognition.
Do you go through any sort of set process when you begin putting paint on canvas - do your paintings emerge?
My understanding and use of colour is fairly raw. However, I select 2-3 analogous colours and load them onto my canvas in various ways - (brush, cardboard, twigs, paddle-pop sticks)  -  all this to engage emotionally in the work. I am often drawn to using blacks and grays for definition and also use graphite to emphasize line and induce form into the work. Frequently my original plans change and I end up with several layers of paint which I really like as it gives me a means of scratching, gouging and adding another layer of interest. Currently I am cutting lino and using printing as an adjunct to some pieces.
What is the hardest thing for you to overcome when you paint?
Finding form amongst the original ideas and the plashes of paint I have massed on the surface.
How do you know when you have finished a painting?
I need someone to say 'don't do another thing to that'!
What has been your greatest disaster or embarrassment painting?
When you think a painting is finished  -  to then revisit a short time later and 'quelle horreur' !!! Why didn't I see that mess before?
What is your biggest regret?
Not going to art school
What advice would you give to someone starting out in painting?
Create - create - create  -  just put paint from a brush or even a twig to the canvass and make marks  - then see which directions the marks take your mind.
What can we expect to see from Ele into the future?  What are your next art challenges?
Another exhibition!


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