Tuesday, July 7, 2015



Jennifer Finnie, Patricia Williamsz, Michael Bateman, Neville Cottee (not exhibiting), Malcolm Sands, Sarah Knights, Andrew Finnie

Exhibition runs from 9th to 26th July with the gallery open Thurs - Sunday 12 to 5pm.

I managed to catch up with three members of the group over the last week..

Jennifer Finnie

 I found Jennifer Finnie working quietly away in Studio 20 at Newcastle Community Arts Centre and we spoke briefly about her art practice.  She spoke about being drawn towards the likes of Fred Williams, Vincent Van Gogh and the Bay Area Figuratives amongst others.  She spoke of the desire to capture the sense of being in the landscape, through sketching plein air whenever possible, then painting directly wet on wet alla prima style to capture the essence of the view in quick, direct mark making.  When I left, Jennifer had set up a brand new pure white canvas in front of the window light.  I wonder which work this has become in the exhibition.  Perhaps Northern View along Newcastle Beach pictured below.
 Resolving the picture plane in terms of abstract composition while maintaining distinct figurative reference poses another exciting challenge for me ..... I am currently exploring this idea in various media." Jennifer Finnie.

Michael Bateman

Formerly from the western suburbs of Sydney, Michael Bateman talked of his love of Newcastle.  He walks from home to work past Newcastle’s primal iconic buildings, landscape and streetscapes, sighting whales and dolphins in the harbour.  Here he sees at close hand the changing face of our city, the restored historical facades, the lost history of other buildings, transport infrastructure changes, and the alterations to our local spaces.  He commented that while the seven painters had been working away, they had simultaneously, without realising, been documenting the city’s history in paint and media.

He is a realist painter of the city and his Tuesday night studio
time is personal and precious.  Here he immerses himself in his love of drawing. Michael talked earlier of the camaraderie, honesty and openness that had developed amongst the group and the trust they have for each other’s opinion.
“Europe schmurope, look in your own backyard. Your yard is an amazing place and carries with it loads of emotion and experience. Be true to yourself and paint from experience”. Michael Bateman


  Patricia Williamsz  

Patricia Williamsz was born in Northern Ireland and has worked in many professions including law and finance.  She studied landscape design and is obsessed with landscape.

Patricia discussed her art commitment as “an itch that has to be scratched”.  She immerses herself into the landscape, drawing plein air.  She then puts away all her drawings, photographs and research materials in an attempt to capture the ‘essence’ of the experience of being in the space, through memory and emotion without further obvious planning. In this way she reacts to both the remembered experience and the direct response to the medium itself.  Patricia talked about the influence of the works of Judith White and her fascination with geology.  As part of her process Patricia talked of sometimes scrubbing back and erasing surfaces and re-layering new marks, in the same way that the geology of the landscape is scrubbed backed and re-built layer upon layer over history.
"..... amalgam of both the outer reality through which we travel and the secret inner landscapes of the memory and imagination”. Patricia Williamsz

Andrew Finnie 

Andrew Finnie is a prolific artist working in digital animation, illustration, writing and painting to name just a few.  His childrens' books are currently with a literary agent in New York hoping for publishing soon and he is sought after for his book illustration work.  One of the original four of the (now) seven painters, his current work depicts local scenes of Newcastle, produced in his well established style.  They reflect our local streets, the house next door and the changing face of Newcastle's architecture.  These works are absolutely charming, filled with colour as they reflect an obvious joy of mark making with paint.

Sarah Knights

In the gallery Sarah's work reflects the light and colour of the Laparinta Trail.  Sarah states in her CV that she began painting seriously only five years ago and has recently joined the Seven Painters Studio Group. In her statement she talks of the influence of Matisse, Arthur Boyd and David Hockney.  
"My interest was in the rhythms, shapes and patterns, which reoccur in the landscape.  I have tried to capture the feeling of walking in the midday winter sun, the colour of the land, which appears magnified while you are there and is somehow lost in the photograph." Sarah Knights


Malcolm Sands

Malcolm has just recently returned from Venice and I have not been able to catch up with him.  Funnily enough, the influence I felt when I first viewed his work was Italian and they somewhat evoked a memory of my own travels in Italy and Tuscany.  These works are small, personable and highly desirable.  The perfect size to fit into any space in an office or home environment.

"My art practice is focused on themes relating to the human presence in the landscape in the form of buildings and roadways.".......

"In the past year I have concentrated on mark making with broad brush strokes on randomly shaped recycled cardboard which produces interesting relationships between the painted composition and the outer edge of the support in much the same way that the developing suburbs form new and diverse intersections across the landscape." Malcolm Sands

Chris Byrnes
NAS Committee (with assistance from Andrew Finnie)

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