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Donna Mitchell

Art has been a passion of mine since I was a child. I loved to enter my work in school competitions held at our local flower show in Jindivick. I would draw and trace and sketch and colour and practice art in some form every day, sometimes for hours on end. My parents were always encouraging and supportive, giving me access to art books on ‘how to’ and taking me to after school lessons at a local artist’s house in Warragul or life drawing classes down Berwick way.

I have tried a few different mediums ranging from graphite, dry pastel, and oils when I was teenager and into my early 20s. After suppressing my creativity for around 15 years while concentrating on raising my daughters I was encouraged by my very supportive partner Adrian, to get back into some form of art. I started out experimenting with acrylic pouring, and over the past few years have dabbled in alcohol ink, charcoal, watercolour and acrylic paint with acrylic being my current preferred medium with other mixed medium in my abstracts.

I don’t feel like I have one specific style. For example, I can be very particular and a perfectionist if I’m painting a realistic piece, as seen in my work called ‘Penny to Sell is Her Name’, where I’m trying to reflect an image of reality onto a canvas or paper. On the other hand, I can be quite loose, spontaneous and experimental as seen in my current abstracts.

More recently I have come to realise my work is subconsciously about capturing (or emanating) emotion. I’m trying to spark a reaction and interest from the onlooker with colour, contrast, shape and expression. All these elements play important roles in both my realism and abstract work but are emitted in different ways.

In my abstracts I’m looking to create interest with colour, shape, flow and direction. Then also hoping to draw the onlooker closer to the painting to discover little details, like a scratch, or line or pattern that wasn’t noticed from afar.

In my realism work I’m trying to translate personality, characteristics or attributes and practice the skills and techniques of form, scale and contrast.

Like so many artists, my inspiration is derived from nature. I grew up on the family farm at Jindivick helping Dad at every chance possible so I could be outside. Colours, shapes, contrast and intricate details intrigue me.

The process of my abstract pieces start with a loosening up technique generally consisting of grabbing a pencil, pastel or piece of charcoal and letting loose with lines and squiggle not really concentrating on anything except marking the canvas. I’ll then grab a brush and wet it and smudge through the line work. I’ll then start applying layers of paint, stopping to make marks and impressions, rubbing out areas putting paint back, letting it dry, applying more and more layers until I feel like it’s interesting enough so that when I apply my last white layer and work through the motion of scraping some back off again, that it’s going to be interesting enough.

I tend to use limited pallets, sometimes using only 3 or 4 different colours all mixed with a combination of white and/or each other. I’m trying to push my own boundaries and skills by experimenting more with a broader range. I’m also looking for different ways of applying paint and making marks and experimenting with different medium & tools to add as points of interest. I’d like to think people might walk away from a piece asking themselves, “I wonder how that was done?” or “how was that effect created?” or maybe saying “I need to look at it again….”

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