Narelle Pendlebury is a Perth Artist with a solid history in the Fine Arts world and Art Education. She works mainly in the areas of painting, textiles and ceramics. Her paintings include large abstract sea, cloud and waterscapes, as well as mixed-media work combining textiles, printmaking, stitching, maps, acrylic and oil mediums. These works are often figurative, and explore the themes of dream, flight, symbol, and the ocean.
JahRoc Galleries have been sucessfully exhibiting and selling Narelle Pendlebury’s paintings for over 12 years with clients enjoying her unique style and fresh approach to her art practice. In the Q&A’s below Narelle gives us some insight into the inspiration behind her work and the methods she uses to create exceptional art.
When did you first feel the desire to be artistic and realise you had talent?
Growing up in the era where children were encouraged to “go out make their own fun”, as kids we were used to making art and “stuff” out of anything and everything we could find. My father is an architect and my mother was a great dressmaker, and we were encouraged to create- building cubbies, making costumes, sculptures and artworks from all sorts of materials. Making and creating were a big part of my childhood, and I loved art at high school as it was a way to develop practical skills and processes, and learn about the world through its art.
Where did you learn your art?
Making and enjoying art has always been an integral part of my life, and my professional training began in 1980 when I studied Fine Arts at WAIT, now Curtin University, majoring in painting and printmaking. Later I went on to complete a Diploma of Secondary Teaching in Art, majoring in painting and textiles. Since then I have taught art in Secondary Schools, run adult workshops in ceramics, worked with large groups of primary school students to create large ceramic and mosaic wall murals, conducted workshops and performances in Wearable Art for senior students and am currently teaching Art in a Perth private school. I have been exhibiting as a professional artist for over fifteen years, and have continued to explore and acquire skills in a wide range of mediums for my own professional development.
What mediums do you use and why?
From my desire to work with a wide range of mediums and techniques, my mixed media works have naturally evolved. The processes of drawing, printmaking, painting and textiles are often fused, and an integral part of my work is the concept and activity of layering – literally, through the laying down of many layers of different materials, but also the accumulation of meaning, informed by each viewer’s experience. Materials used include printed. dyed and painted papers, marine charts and maps, lino relief rubbings which are painted in resist, printed transparent fabrics such as organza, dyed silks, and embossed and oxidised copper and other metals. Machine stitch is used to emphasise shape, pattern and texture, and oil and acrylic mediums are applied in layers and transparent glazes.
Describe the creative process.
These works have evolved over a period of time through my interest in textiles and printmaking, as well as painting. After exploration of a theme through drawing, some works begin by monoprinting images onto various papers, which are then painted using watercolours and acrylics. Machine stitch is added to emphasise line and texture, and pieces of handprinted fabric, paper and other materials are collaged and sewn onto the piece. Sometimes I create collages onto backgrounds of transparent papers which I have laminated, or rice paper which I have painted and dyed before sewing. These pieces are bonded onto board and then painted and worked into using a variety of media, with an emphasis on the subtle interplay of surface, texture and translucent layers.
What inspires you most?
The main inspiration for my work comes from my personal experience of living in this wonderful coastal environment, observing the land and seascape, and experiencing the natural elements of wind, water and waves. My figurative works are associated with the notion of travelling and journeying, and the role of dream and memory in our experience.
What message are you sending to the viewer of your art?
My abstract landscape works explore the themes of land sea and sky. These are approached from multiple perspectives- horizontal, aerial and topographical- to reflect the nature of the natural environment and our experience and perceptions of it. In some of these works, navigational maps of the local Western Australian coastline are used as a basis to work from. These are worked into using extensive layers of dyed and printed materials, as well as acrylic and oil mediums to produce a richly textured surface, but with an emphasis on the transparency of layers, and a unifying pattern. Graphic symbols included reference those used in maps and navigational aids such as GPS, and sometimes the image is gridded in a similar way to that which appears on satellite imagery such as google earth.
My figurative works often engage with notions of journeying and travelling- physically and metaphorically. The colours are rich, and the surface is embellished with stitch, metal and multiple layers of paint and texture to create a jewel-like effect. These works delve loosely into a contemplation on time, memory and the pilgrimage from one stratum of existence to the next.
Describe your studio.
Currently I don’t have a dedicated studio, but have many areas around the house where I can undertake the various aspects of my art making. I have spaces inside and outside where I work, depending on the size and medium of the artwork being created. Having works in progress around the house allows me time to contemplate their progress, and consider where to go next with them.
What are you working on now?
I tend to work on many pieces simultaneously, and move from one medium and process to the next. I am currently exploring some more urban imagery based on photographs I have taken and manipulated, as well as continuing with sky/landscapes, and figurative works. I regularly undertake commissions, and am also preparing a body of work for a solo exhibition in December 2016.
What do you love most about what you do?
I can’t imagine life without being engaged in some form of creative activity, so being able to combine art making with teaching art is my ideal. The two complement each other and keep me stimulated and motivated to share my passion for art, as well as being able to explore new techniques and approaches to art making.