At 77 years old, artist Betty Collier has certainly lived life to the fullest. She’s travelled the world, ridden an ostrich, caught a piranha in the Amazon and walked amongst the iguanas in the Galapagos. Now settled in her hometown of Ballarat, this worldly artist is filled with a wealth of inspiration that manifests into her work.
Working across different mediums, Betty captures the animals she has encountered through life in her drawings, while exploring free flowing forms, mushrooms and warrior-like figures through sculpture. These works have become well-travelled themselves, with Betty’s oeuvre finding success in galleries and private art collections across Australia and overseas.
However, perhaps even more impressive than this is Betty’s artistic methods. Now in her 70s and “full of arthritis” as she puts it, the artist still undergoes labour-intensive work to create her sculptures. When she chats to Art Edit, Betty is working on a Pilbara Jade piece, forming a tormented head out of the unforgiving rock. “Because of the hardness of the stone I use an angle grinder with a mini cutting wheel, a Die grinder on an air compressor with diamond coated cutting and grinding disks,” explains the artist. “Because of the curves and undercutting of the sculpture I will have to sand it back by hand using different grades of wet and dry sandpaper, going from 80 grit to 3,000 grit.”
In spite of the physical toll paid to carve her vision out of stone, Betty still maintains an inspirational level of optimism in her process. “I aim to achieve the best possible result that I`m capable of doing,” says the artist. “I just hope someone thinks [the work] is worthy and in some way it brings someone feelings of pleasure, understanding, and awareness.”