Wendy Shortland, Artist – Pyrmont Art Festival Entrant
I have a background as a project manager in I.T. I went to art school in 2002 as a mature age student and I now have an Advanced Diploma in Fine Art from the Sydney Gallery School (Meadowbank TAFE campus), and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from College of Fine Art (University of NSW). I teach Painting in Acrylics for Sydney Community College and I also work for Derivan P/L who make Matisse and Derivan acrylic paints here in the inner west of Sydney. As well as acrylic painting I also do book art, paper art, and digital art…oh, and some printmaking.
2. What do you love about what you do?
I love colour. I am fascinated with the use of tonal values. I like book art and printmaking for their ability to illustrate a narrative which painting doesn’t allow to the same extent.
3. Do you have a favourite contemporary artist you find inspirational?
Both Peter O’Doherty and Jeffrey Smart. Each of them is interested in the urban landscape and paring it down to the essentials.
4. You have entered the Pyrmont Art Festival which is great. Can you tell us a little about your entry?
I wander round the back lanes taking photographs of rooftops to paint or draw later. I like the juxtaposition of old chimneys and air conditioning vents. In this case it is a back entrance to someone’s house, or perhaps a flat above a shop. My colours are not realistic, but once the tones are correct this doesn’t matter. I used a brand new medium from Matisse which is not yet in the shops. It is called ‘Open Medium’, and it makes the paint stay open longer and generally handle more like oil paint. It gives the canvas a beautiful finish.
5. What are you currently reading?
“Rancid Pansies” by James Hamilton Patterson, (farce, I guess), “Illegal Action” by Stella Rimington, (spy story by a woman who was head of MI5), and “The New Acrylics” by Rheni Tauchid.
6. Who would be your dream real-life neighbour?
Maybe a writer – if they didn’t have to still be alive, perhaps Nancy Mitford (Love in a Cold Climate) or Paul Scott (Jewel in the Crown quartet). Otherwise, someone to get me thinking, like Philip Adams.
7. What is/would be your favourite travel destination?
Oh, I have many. Ubud in Bali is my second home. Other favourites are Bologna in Italy, Barcelona,….and then I’m longing to go to India.
8. If there were a T-shirt slogan for Sydney, what would it be?
“Protect Sydney’s heritage.” I’ve been to the shipyards down a Blackwattle Bay recently and was blown away by the colours and the old machinery. They’re going to lead to a whole new body of work. We mustn’t lose all the old parts of Sydney.
9. What was the last movie you saw and really enjoyed?
“Milk”. I thought Sean Penn was just amazing.