Astrid Dahl paints textured and vibrantly coloured landscapes from memories, experiences and imagination. Her works are full of movement and give the viewer a sense of self being at one with nature, becoming a part of the landscape in the painting. Astrid Dahl has been successfully exhibiting with JahRoc Galleries for over 15 years, and has been enjoying her artistic career for over 35 years contributing also in teaching her art knowledge in schools and workshops.
Getting to know….Astrid Dahl
When did you first feel the desire to be artistic and realise you had talent?
I was 12 years old and languishing in bed in Manjimup (WA) with measles. I was so bored that I began to badger my mother for something to do. She then gave me one pencil and some paper which was the back of a letter or form. Then she gave me a book with some Ancient gods and Goddesses from Thailand. I was quite pleased with my drawings and then when I won a prize in Manjimup Primary for the best painting in the class, my fate was sealed!!
Where did you learn your art?
Working in a “share office” typing up shares all day, I decided to change my life which was going in a direction that I did not enjoy. I took myself, (unbeknownst by my parents) to beg admittance to the art course at the RMIT in Melbourne. (1960) The Principal was quite bemused with my insistence as I did not have anything to show him of my artistic flare. (my mother had thrown away or burnt anything that she thought un-necessary with the many house-packings that she had to do. (we moved a lot) So Mr Greenhaulge sent me away to complete at least half a dozen paintings and drawings. He also suggested that I come back in 6 months when the new school year began. The rest is history.
What inspires you most?
LANDSCAPE and how it connects (directly or indirectly) with – LIFE, the body, philosophy, thoughts, desires and the human condition.
What message are you sending to the viewer of your art?
I would like the viewers to understand that I am trying to interpret my own personal journey through life. I have also found that there are lines of similarities that cross over between males, females, cultures religions, and races. Truly fascinating.
Describe your studio…
My Studio takes over the whole house and half of the outside area!!
Describe your typical day of creating art…
After my dog walk and breakfast, I start to peruse what I had done the previous night. (I usually work late) if photos need to be taken of my work before I store them, then early morning is best. Then I prepare canvasses for new paintings. (these need colour then texture applied before I start to paint) I then begin to paint the 2-3 paintings that I have on the easel. A large part of my painting time is taken up mixing colours and or looking and accessing my work. Sometimes, I go to the computer to call up an image (of a photo that I had taken and filed) that I am having trouble remembering. My main meal at 4-5 is followed by another painting stint till about 10pm, at which time I call it a day and prepare for bed.
What mediums do you use and why?
I relish on using a variety of mediums, including texture gel, acrylic inks, acrylic paint and sometimes things I pick up from the hardware. I always do samples first before I begin to use them on good canvas.
What are you working on now?
I am starting a new series of mix media work based on the theme of “Samara” – the Hindu and Buddhist translations. I am quite excited about it as it incorporates Human Existence within the landscape and is a conduit to life, death and rebirth. We see this happening within nature and the Landscape in its broader form. It is the transitory nature of all living and inert things.
What do you love most about what you do?
What I love about creating is within the process itself. It is a release, a meditation, a type of freedom and a wonderful reason to get out of bed every morning!
Where can you see yourself in 10 years time?
Somewhere in the world with an easel and a few half-finished paintings calling for my attention!