Wendy Saphin

Making art, for me, has to be fun even if the subject is not. I was born to art. My Father was a painter and draughtsman and designed sets for the ABC and BBC. My Mother was an Interior Designer and then turned to ceramics. She taught ceramics at Caulfield Institute in the 60’s. I believe this explains my love of line and clay.

As a young child I was always drawing, painting and making things. As I got a bit older I was allowed to play with clay in my mother’s studio. In primary school I  loved art but in secondary school I studied sciences. When I left school, rather than follow sciences, I attended Prahran CAE and majored in sculpture.

While at college I studied so many subjects; Drawing, Sculpture, Welding, Mould Making, Smelting, Life Drawing, Printmaking, Painting, Conceptual Art, Art History (which I found extremely boring), Costume Design, Ceramics and Photography. I have never felt limited by a particular technique or style and I am not good at sticking to the rules of a particular technique. I did not complete my studies at PCAE, not because I did not get good results but because there was so much more to do and life was too much fun! I have never regretted it. Life is where my inspiration comes from. Life Drawing is the one discipline that I have Artist in Profile continued throughout my life. It trains my hand to draw what I see, not what I think I see. Abstraction sometimes follows but I believe that you need to develop
and maintain the skills of observation, perspective, line and tone in order to be able to abstract. I like to know where the line should go and then I can let it go where it wants to. I have developed that theory from the work of Picasso, who was the most amazing realist drawer at the age of 6 and went on to be an artist famous for his abstracts.

I have attended hundreds of art workshops over the years. Papermaking, Silk Paper making, Tutu Making, Chinese Brush Painting, Water Colour, Portraits, Batik, Marble Sculpting, Abstraction, Ceramics, Airbrushing and Encaustic. I am off to a Hebel stone workshop in September at the Goods Shed. I am a Jack of all techniques and Master of none. This suits me because I have learnt so many things along the way. I have used most of the skills I learnt in some capacity.

The picture on the left is of a collaborative work for WTG’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. Big “Little Audrey”. I went to a puppet making workshop at  Wonthaggi  library and WTG is where I ended up. Such, new friends and another project, “The Dragon” for Miss Saigon. There will be more I am sure. I have also had the privilege of teaching art to Children. I learnt more as Artist in Residence at Brighton Primary School and teaching here in Bass Coast, than I ever taught.

“Let the line take you on a journey.”

Children have the ability to learn a technique and then allow it to take them to where their imagination is waiting. I now try to do the same.

You don’t have to wait for a class, model or an experience to inspire your art work. I draw what is around me just to enjoy the meditative focus it gives me. I draw my hands, my feet, and my pets, flowers in a vase, a musical instrument or anything I can see at the time. This is not only good practice but also incredibly relaxing and centring. I primarily use my art practise for my emotional balance and well- being. If something I draw inspires me I might take it further using one or all of the techniques I have learnt over the years.

I have written and Illustrated 2 Children’s Books, Rosie’s Box and The Habitat Tree and am working on the illustrations for a Friend’s book, Pelican Pete and the Mermaid. I play the guitar and am learning the harp. I feed Pelicans at San Remo and I am a Funeral Celebrant. I have lots to keep me busy but my artwork keeps me sane. Some would argue that it does that!

This year my plan is to look at airbrushing again. I have the equipment from after the Workshop I did. I have a habit of buying equipment then finding a new technique. I bought the teaching CDs this month and when spring arrives and I can work outside, I will be onto it. That is as long as something else doesn’t grab my attention. I am currently working on a commission for my 15 Year old Grandson. One of my most important paintings to date.

It is of Coronet Bay. Not Quite Finished.