A mutual love of nature and Australia's natural environment has inspired the latest artworks on display at the Gloucester Gallery.
My Country, My Inspiration is a joint exhibition by artists, Fred Bullen and Roger Speaight which brings together Fred's paintings, sculptures and framed prints with Roger's watercolour landscapes. The exhibition features a diversity of subjects and captures the drama and atmosphere of Australia in a contemporary, realistic style.
Fred lives in Hallidays Point and held his first exhibition in Gloucester in 2018. His work is influenced by what he sees around him, in the natural environment.
"I don't set out to produce art about a particular subject using the traditional techniques and medium," Fred explained. "Rather, I always try to render the chosen subject in a way which feels right to me. That's why I often use a wide range of materials in addition to more conventional ones."
His work is best described as 'eclectic' and he enjoys a challenge.
"I simply enjoy trying new things and I return to earlier techniques when the subject and my mood takes me in that direction," Fred said. "My more recent work tends to focus on the natural environment where I turn what I see into 'abstract realism'. The shape of the subject can be identified but the textures and colours are the product of my artistic interpretation. I seek to produce works that are stark but still attractive and positive."
Port Macquarie based, Roger also has a connection to Gloucester having owned a small farm in the region for more than 30 years. He has always had a deep love of Australia's natural environment.
"I've always painted in watercolour, preferring to work in its purest, translucent form," Roger said. "As such, it is a challenging medium, as frustrating as it can be rewarding, and hard to master."
But he seems to have the hang of it, winning 29 awards at competitions and exhibitions from Singleton to Armidale, and on the Mid North Coast since 2011.
"My aim is that a painting should be emotive and evocative, engage the viewer, and be powerful in its simplicity and representation," Roger said. "Over the years I've developed my own style with graphic compositions and broad washes, using a minimum of brushstrokes, aiming to capture the essence, the mood and atmosphere of a scene rather than its detail."
My Country, My Inspiration opens at Gloucester Gallery, 25 Denison Street, on Thursday, January 28 and runs until Sunday, February 21. The gallery is open Thursday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm and Sunday from 10am until 1pm. Entry is free.