Vanessa Stockard
Vanessa Stockard

Vanessa Stockard’s delicate Still Life paintings portray the physical change and transplantation from the bustling city to the relative cool serenity of the Southern Highlands where she lives. Having graduated from COFA with a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in painting, Vanessa studied Anatomy and Life drawing at the Julian Ashton Art School and Still Life and Landscape Painting at the North Sydney Art School as well as gilding and carving with Dane Wilson, Master Framer in the USA.

The Southern Highlands has great soil, and having my first garden is wonderful! I am a painter that has to work with my immediate environment – plucking blooms straight from the garden or a sprig of blossom from the back lane and painting them immediately is both a luxury and a necessity. Foraging in the garden for things to paint is always surprising. The pronounced changes the Highland seasons bring changes in turn to my work. Living in a city apartment for many years before moving to a beautiful 1850s sandstone house, my options for subjects that interested me were limited. I got to know the local florist very well, but that was a poor substitute for landscape and nature! Perfect petals and stems have little personality and often no perfume at all. Exploring the garden, sniffing the flowers, getting thorns stuck in my hands, methodically weeding and closely observing my little world, relaxes and stimulates me at the same time. I think this true connection to the planet is where happiness thrives.

Of course it is not just the objects of nature that fascinate me here. The sense of space in the Highlands has influenced both the composition and mood of my paintings. The wide skies are not cluttered with lights and high rise buildings, the air is pellucid and fresh, and my paintings have become more expansive as a result.

My gradual adjustment to a slower, more intimate, life is reflected to me as I see each body of work become more peaceful. This increasing calm has not made me lazy, in fact it frees me to explore new subtleties with a muted palette and a sinuous line. It has also finally provided a mental space to develop my long held concept of peripheral information gathering. The concept involves exploring that environment and sense of being experienced when staring into space in a landscape, just blissing out or not thinking much at all, then painting abstracted glimpses of things remembered, sensed or felt. This method of experience naturally creates abstracted work, with negative space as important as the imagery, and with the realisation of how much information you absorb peripherally.

I needed to move to the country to experience such luxuries. I hope these paintings will calm the minds of my city dwelling clients and help share my indulgent experiences. The Highlands really are the place for an artist.

This new collection of paintings celebrate my favourite Season, Spring. Living in the Southern Highlands, NSW, where the seasons are so contrasting has been inspiring to many artists that live there including myself. Spring here is incredible, the blossoms of varied ornamental plums, apricots and cherries puff up in candy floss pastel clouds and shower their petals all over the ground like coloured snow. This season I have been blessed with my first garden, the dormant stick roses, bulbs and other sad looking specimens we planted a few months ago proved to be transformative… the garden became alive with leaves and flowers. With little imagination I painted this show entirely from this experience. Alongside the bountiful blooms I have experimented with elements of space, subtle colour and combining the drawn line with painterly brush and palette knife marks. Colour wise I didn’t want to ad to the hues that were evident in the flowers and or bottles, soft blues complement the clear outdoors whilst the pinks and soft whites are reflected in the flowers. I use the line to imitate what is going on in the composition in front of me, sometimes to link spacial areas with more condensed expressionist formed flowers and transparent vases. This body of work, created during the past 2 months, have been lessons in breathing space, muted colour and relaxing compositions. I wanted to create works that were both fresh and graceful like their subjects alongside the tranquil joy experienced when I just sit and observe nature at its finest.

– Vanessa Stockard

View Vanessa Stockard on A La Mode Sydney

Curriculum Vitae

2006-2007 Gilding and Carving with Dane Wilson, Master Framer, Katayama, USA
2003-2004 Julian Ashton Art School, (Anatomy and Life drawing)
2002-2003 North Sydney Art School, (Still Life and Landscape Painting)
1999-2001 The Framing School, Sydney, (Conservation and Object Framing)
1995-1999 University of NSW, College of Fine Art, BFA
1994 University of Sydney, Art History

Solo Exhibitions

2013 Textura, Art2Muse Gallery, Sydney
2013 The Garden, Maunsell Wickes, Sydney
2012 Untethered, Maunsell Wickes, Sydney
2012 Tenebrism, Charles Hewitt Gallery, Sydney
2011 Vanessa Stockard, Artist’s Deli, Bowral
2010 Quiesce, Charles Hewitt Gallery, Sydney
2009 Siren’s Song, Charles Hewitt Gallery, Sydney
2009 Taree Regional Gallery, Taree
2007/8/9 Murdoch Collections, Portland, USA
2007 Cork, Portland, USA
2003/4 Don Adan Coffee House, Sydney
1999 Dendy Cinema Sydney

Group Exhibitions

2014 End of Year, Art2Muse Gallery, Double Bay
2013 Something Small, Charles Hewitt, Marrickville
2013 Is it a bird, Is it a plane, Charles Hewitt, Marrickville
2013 Wombat Hollow, Mausell Wickes and Michael Yabsley, Kangaloon
2012 A Painterly Selection, Artist’s Deli, Bowral
2012 Views and Visions, Charles Hewitt Gallery, Sydney
2011 Think Big, Charles Hewitt Gallery, Sydney
2011 Mythos Fine Art, California, USA
2011 Murdoch Collections, Portland, USA
2010 About Flowers, Charles Hewitt Gallery, Sydney
2010 Something Personal, Charles Hewitt Gallery, Sydney
2009 Don Capon, Sydney Eye Hospital, Sydney
2009 Blank_Space Art Gallery, Sydney
2009 Perlcontemporaryart, Vaucluse, NSW
2008 Taree Art Show, Taree, NSW
2007 Katayama, Portland, USA
2006/7 Guestroom Gallery, Portland, USA
2005 The Art Lounge, Sydney
2005 The Brush Gallery, Wingham, NSW
2005 Kelmans Winery, Hunter Valley, NSW
2003 Walcom Manning Art Prize
2003 Moulton Art Gallery Mona Vale, NSW
2002 Applause Gallery, South Melbourne
1998/9 Woollahra Art Show
1997-2004 Taree Art Exhibition
1997 Seal Rocks Show, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, NSW

Notable Portraits

2005 Bryan Doyle
2004 Sir Lawrence Street
2002 Stan Zemanek
2001 Mike Munroe
2000 Murray Tyrrell

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