val-connellyArt has always played a crucial part in my life….chalk on blackboards, a stick in wet sand, a biro on scrap paper, the child’s paintbox and later the oils!

  As an art student, Edgar Degas, the French Impressionist painter, inspired me to try pastel as a medium. Having reared the kids and progressed in my teaching career I returned to the easel and as the number of works grew so did my pastel range! My husband Brian and I decided to search for a property with a potential studio. This was found here in the rolling green hills of West Gippsland. The old dairy was converted and it was nose down and on with the job.

Inspiration for a subject may be an old rusting shed, a stormy grey sky, colourful bold blooms, waves pounding onto the shore, reflections. Strong shadows fascinate me as I reach for a chunky deep violet. Little pre-sketching is done as I move quickly into the task and stay with it, keeping it bold and simple with striking contrasts to bring it alive.

Favourite subjects have included sea birds, boats, vineyards, daffodil or canola fields and rugged coastlines. A fad for lighthouses took us on many coastal journeys. Figures or creatures may feature if they are part of the story, such as in the wilds of Africa.

The camera is needed but working directly is good, if time and weather allow. A particular energy and focus is at play with the likely pastels selected beforehand with a receptive Colourfix paper to work on. Standing well back to appraise and allowing time to review and revisit are important.

Exhibiting and selling my work gives purpose and satisfaction, and a chance to share my vision.

Val Connelly