In Our Gallery with Carmel Birchley

For the past 25 years Carmel Birchley has dived deeper into her passion for art, enjoying the creativity that comes from working with a range of mediums.

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How long have you been an artist and how did you get started?

In my 20s to early 30s I worked mainly with oils, until I had my second daughter and had to put the paints away for a while.

During this time I worked in design at a civil and structural engineer firm for 30 years where I learned to trace and design roads, buildings and drainage.

I loved that it was all manual, having to work with paper and pen in hand.

I always wanted to add a cheeky tree to my road designs.

Although art has been a lifelong hobby, I have practiced more seriously since 1996 after enrolling in Bill Bonner’s Queensland School of Fine Art.

Tell us about your artwork displayed by Bundaberg Regional Galleries as part of the Here + Now exhibition?

The striking flower plus the structure and colours of this banksia bush caught my eye during one of my walks.

I love going on walks with my granddaughter and joined the U3A bird watching group, meaning I am always out with nature.

Our natural environment provides endless sources of inspiration when viewed through an artist’s eyes. 

My “Banksia Colours” artwork is one such example.

What medium was used and how does this reflect your usual practice?

This artwork was completed with soft pastels and pastel pencils on terra cotta Colourfix paper. 

I use a wide range of mediums including metal point works, oil painting, charcoal in my portraits and scraperboard art.

What are some of your artistic highlights?

I have completed a few commissions to do portraits, some with oil paints and others with charcoal.

The pieces were quite emotional and sentimental to the families requesting them, that's why the most rewarding thing for me is the emotional responses I get to my portraits.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love experimenting with different mediums and techniques to produce realistic images.

I also love getting lost in the moment and find the practice of art to be very therapeutic.

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