Belynda Henry has a massive year and we’re thrilled to be hosting this show, and to be sharing the backstory of the work and the artist! She’s been published in quite a few great blogs and manazines, has exhibited at the Design Files Open House, and is producing beautiful paintings. On our opening morning of this exhibition, “Higher“, we sold 17 works right away. Belynda Henry’s acrylic, abstract landscapes use Cezanne-like blocks of colour to construct the rolling forms of the Dooralong Valley, NSW – her home. She has been a finalist in the prestigious Wynne Prize for landscape twice, and held over 20 solo shows.
Koskela: Can you tell us a bit more about your painting process? How do you begin?
Belynda Henry: My painting processes like a never ending cycle a bit like a circle. It keeps on going. Gathering images from my local landscape, to inspiring images I find through out the day.
Then in the studio. It’s building and stretching new canvases. My paintings have lots of thin layers, so I try to have at least 4/ 5 paintings going at the same time. Some canvases, some works on paper. Acrylics dry very fast, but if I have a colour mixed up I can keep going around the room and usnig it up on other paintings that might need a bit of paint. I don’t like wasting paint. I try not to even wash my brushes out and just keep adding more colours to the paint. Unless its a totally different colour. Or need some white.
The start of a painting is usually kept very relaxed, with misc, coffee and some bigger brushes. I need to build of layers so the first few layers are usually undercoats, but I try to not paint over each layer all together, so some colours shine through from beneath.
A painting can go for weeks, because usually I am working on so many at once.
Gradually the puzzle starts to come together, some are quite tricky to get right. It’s important for me to have lots of different stages in the painting, I never go straight to the final image; I like to create a problem to solve.
That way, special effects can occur from what started as mistakes.
K: How do you develop your colour palette? Do you have a favourite colour, or colours, that you use more often than others?
BH: I develop my palette by mixing… a lot of mixing! My fav colours are greys, creams, white, navy, then tiny sections of brighter colours. I love most colours except PURPLE. I am not a purple girl at all.
K: Your landscapes are ‘imagined’ valleys, based on your home in the Dooralong Valley. Can you explain how you merge the two?
Well I take the important information from what I see, so colour combinations. Movement in the landscape usually converts to patterns. Light atmosphere and the seasons are all influential.
I am not trying to paint where I live. I am just taking the parts/elements that stand out to me and mixing them with imagination. And maybe other landscapes all merge into one. A summary of things I see.
I try not think think about it too much, they just come out that way usually.
K: Has your success informed your artistic processes? Your landscapes have garnered so much attention (cover of this March’s Country Style, for example!) – do you imagine turning to sculpture, or a different painting subject in future?
Maybe, you never know. Experimenting can always lead to new exciting directions. I actually studied sculpture at Sydney College of the Arts Sydney University. And I do love sculpture. I did a series of sculptures, small tree shapes a few years ago, but they took me so long I figured it was best to stick with painting.
I will be painting and find my self daydreaming about sculptural forms. Hopefully soon I will create some more.
My success over the last few years has really sped things up for me. I remember a few years ago I used to sleep and watch movies and TV and go to bed at 930. Those days are gone, which is great. And luckily, nothing is forced its all still coming naturally. My new worry is how am I going to get all of this done. I need one more me!
K: If you could travel anywhere and paint the landscape, where would it be?
I would go on a world tour, stopping in mountain/lake areas. New Zealand looks good, I did visit the south island in 1997 and think I would love to go back soon, and sit and paint the landscape from a paddock somewhere.
K: Here at Koskela we want to know what brings our staff, customers, collaborators and clients joy. What brings you Joy?
- Joy to me is my family.
- Seeing my two girls laugh and play and enjoying their country childhood/upbringing is really cool.
- When the girls make me something or paint something also brings me joy.
- To live on 40 acres surrounded by trees and having the freedom to run around and explore!
- Just being together is really all we need.
To enquire about purchasing or pricing, contact Koskela Retail at Info@koskela.com.au or 02 9280 0999