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WA’s best watercolourists coming to Collie

Collie folk know better than anyone how fabulous the landscape is around these parts. But when members of the Watercolour Society of WA attended an opening at The Collie Art Gallery earlier in the year they decided they would have to come back to have their own exhibition and stay to literally paint the region.

The exhibition Watercolours WA – City to Country opens this weekend at Collie Art Gallery.

The Society which was established 35 years ago, counts some of some of WA’s finest living watercolourists amongst their members. Membership is by selection and as they say, while many are called, few are chosen. Their standards are very high and quite exacting, but all share a passion for this, one of the most challenging of the visual arts.

Susan Payne, President of the Society, says that one of the group’s most important aims is to bust the myth of wish washy watercolours and promote the art as equally, if not more worthy, as any other medium of painting.

“Many in the art establishment still look upon watercolour as sketches” Susan says. “ One of my passions is to have watercolours accepted as an entity in their own right.”

“One of the magical things about watercolour is that a lot of the time it does its own thing. And you’ve got to work around it or with it which is great.

“There are lots of famous Australian watercolourists like Hans Heyson and Albert Namatjira but to be quite honest I’d prefer to look at the contemporary watercolours, like Joseph Zbukvic, who are the most amazing artists and not just Australian ones. We have been lucky enough to be invited to attend international watercolour exhibitions in Italy and we also went to China last year, and we have met the most wonderful watercolourists from Poland, Spain and Italy and they’re all contemporary watercolourists and they are magnificent. Not only that, I think we have to remember that we have a huge amount of talent in this state. We often bring artists over from the Eastern states because to give workshops. They are all the most fantastic artists. But we have people here in this state whom are definitely of the same calibre and they are in the Watercolour society.

Although the watercolourists of the past like Hans Heysen are wonderful I really believe that we have current day artists who are equally as good and should be recognised and promoted.

The group’s exhibition Watercolours WA – City to Country which opens on Friday 25th November will showcase 75 magnificent works by award winning and internationally exhibited WA artists, including Stephanie Boyle, Richard Bristow, Pam Eddy, Ella Fagence, Cass Gartner, Sue Hibbert, Penny Maddison, Lucy Papalia, Valerie Parker, Sandy Robertson, Jude Scott, Philomena Yong-Too, Aurelie Yeo, Kale Miller, Annette Wallman and others.

Penny Maddison and Stephanie Boyle will be giving workshops at the gallery when they’re not out with their fellow watercolourists, in the week following the opening, exploring the region with their palette and paints.

Watercolours WA – City to Country is on show at the Collie Art Gallery, 134 Throssell Street, Collie, Thursdays-Mondays, 10am-4pm. Admission is free. Phone 9734 2921 or email hello@collieartgallery.org.au to find out more.

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