In Our Gallery with Maggie Spenceley

A love of flowers and a passion for drawing has led Bundaberg artist Maggie Spenceley to create her My Suburbs artworks, on display at the Bundaberg Regional Galleries Here + Now exhibition.

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

I have always enjoyed drawing however, it is only since I came to Bundaberg in 2003 and subsequently retired, that I have taken up art more seriously.

I went to the Queensland School of Fine Art and found a great teacher in Bill Bonner.

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

This piece has two layers.

The base layer is a work in graphite on paper.

It is a simple rendition of mature Eucalypt trees.

Overlying this is a translucent film with various related images of Eucalypts completed in coloured pencil.

The images represent various stages of growth of the plant - new leaves, flower buds, mature flowers, spent flowers and the gumnuts.

At one level it represents the circle of life. the new leaves and flower buds grow. Seeds are produced and they germinate to become the trees and forests of the future.

At another level it is a celebration of the beauty and colours of the trees and flowers at various times of the year.

What was the inspiration behind this piece?

As I walk in my neighbourhood I take photographs and these photographs of my local street trees were the inspiration for this piece.

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

I have loved being amongst trees and flowers since I was a small child and most of my art has its basis in the natural world.

Most of my work has been in acrylic on canvas board or graphite or ink on paper.

Graphite is my favourite.

A few years ago I tried out colour pencils and have enjoyed exploring this medium on white paper and on coloured papers.

I was playing with an idea I had of combining two images of the same subject completed using different mediums.

I wanted one to be a muted image behind a more vibrant picture.

It was not working for me on one surface so I started using two surfaces - paper and drafting film.

The drafting film is translucent and softens the base layer but still allows the image to be seen.

The colour pencils are very vibrant when used on the drafting film. I have completed a few pieces using this technique and plan to explore it further.

What are some of your artistic highlights?

Being part of the Here + Now exhibition is certainly a highlight. It is great to see your work hung in the gallery.

Along with friends (Colleen Helmore and Carmel Birchley) I had an exhibition at BRAG a few years ago and it was amazing to see a body of work there and have not only friends, but members of the general public appreciate the works.

You try something challenging or different and when it is completed you look at it and say - "I like that" - that is a highlight.

What advice would you give to others who are just beginning to explore art?

Find a medium you want to try.

Relax and enjoy what you do.

There will be failures.

Learn from them - don't beat yourself over the head with them.

Explore the videos available on the internet, if possible find a good teacher and friends to share the experience with.

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