One of Belynda Henry’s fondest memories is the day she painted her first watercolour landscape, aged 10, armed with a red suitcase full of paints and the guidance of her artist father. She sat in a paddock for an afternoon and painted.
Years on, her love for landscape painting has not wavered, constantly being inspired by the colour and calm of tranquil landscapes, creating works that she describes as: “Very still but very alive.”
Working on both canvas and paper, Belynda uses a mix of acrylic paints and pastels. She uses lots of thin layers to build colour on colour, something that she believes is achieved most successfully through the simplicity of acrylic. For Belynda, using basic materials has certainly proved best: “I guess I could say after years of experimenting I have come back down to using just the basics. No fancy mixers and other paint effects to add, just a few daggy cheap artists brushes, a few spray bottles with water, some rags and I’m happy!”
This certainly doesn’t take away from the quality of her work though, with Belynda a finalist in the Art Gallery of NSW’s Wynne Prize both last year and in 2000. “To have your painting hung on the same wall as Australian artists that you have always loved and respected, is a wonderful feeling,” she explains. “And saying to my girls ‘look, that’s Mummy’s painting!’ It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Having studied both visual arts and teaching at university, Belynda never majored in painting, instead doing sculpture and printmaking. “I suppose you would say even though I went to art school, no one ever actually taught me to paint. Instead, it has taken me 20 years to work through experiments and mistakes, to work out the best way to use a paintbrush.”
While Belynda has taught art at the local high school, lately she has been working solely in her studio, something she feels extremely fortunate to be doing. “Lots of commissions and lots of works selling, makes one happy artist!”
In her studio, she focuses on many works at the same time, often having four or five canvases and six to eight paper works on the go at once! “Just this year I bought some long tables and now I fill them with sheets of Arches paper,” says Belynda. “I find my smaller works often make interesting images and compositions that I can then use to attempt to create on a much larger scale.”
Currently painting day and night (often past midnight!), this year has seen Belynda produce a constant flow of paintings, many of which were exhibited in her Queensland exhibition earlier this year.
Contact Belynda via her website.