Bundaberg artist Colleen Helmore has returned from an inspirational visit to Italy as part of her participation in the international Fabriano in Acquarello program, supported by a Regional Arts Development Fund grant.
Colleen’s watercolour work Wonder was selected for display at the prestigious event, and she attended the conference-style gathering earlier this year along with expert, enthusiast and amateur watercolour artists from around the world.
Colleen said she was pleased to be chosen for the event and to exhibit alongside artists she had long admired from afar.
“It was very exciting to be amongst it,” she said.
“Everyone was equal, everyone’s work was put up (together) equally.”
“It was quite special.”
Colleen relished the opportunity to attend workshops and demonstrations, and learned how different artists approached the same scene in en plein air painting events.
A particular highlight was seeing a demonstration from Japanese artist Yuko Nagayama and being able to interact with the artist in a group painting event.
“Seeing how different people approach the same subject, how they would pick a different thing to focus on, different colours, opens your mind to different opportunities,” Colleen said.
“Watercolour is big overseas while in Australia it doesn’t seem to be as big.
“There’s a big push internationally to promote the medium and to show it which is good for the medium as it’s been a bit left behind.”
Colleen was impressed by the speed and confidence of the experienced en plein air artists who producing multiple paintings in each session.
“I’m definitely going to do plein air painting again, though it’s hard to do in Australia’s harsher weather conditions, with the heat,” she said.
“To have the inspiration in front of you, it is a more representational type of art.”
On returning to Bundaberg, Colleen was able to put her newly found inspiration to good use, running two workshops for Moore Park Beach Arts Inc and a workshop for aged care residents.
Colleen is now focused on preparing for upcoming exhibitions including “Nature’s Therapy” at Childers in September with fellow artists Carmel Birchley and Maggie Spenceley.
Colleen’s work Wonder will be displayed in various locations around Italy until September, as part of the Fabriano in Acquarello touring exhibition.