Artist Profile: Kerry Bruce

KERRY BRUCE CHALLENGES THE NOTION OF THE SOLITARY ARTIST, SHARING HER PASSION FOR CREATING VIBRANT FLORAL CANVASES WITH WORKSHOPS RUN THROUGH HER GALLERY IN SOUTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES. HELEN MCKENZIE WRITES.

THERE ARE ARTISTS who have chosen their field for the solitude it can offer and there are others for whom sharing their love of the craft is second nature. Artist Kerry Bruce fits firmly into the second category, demonstrating an unwavering and infectious exuberance in all aspects of her artistic life.

Kerry’s work is bright, vibrant and bold. Whether she is painting abstraction, life figures, flowers or Curly the cow, Kerry uses lush paint that drips from the canvas. Colour is key. “I have a passion for colour and exploring texture,” the artist elaborates. “I love to work with my tones, exploring every moment and twist and turn when I am creating.”

Always in demand and with a practice that includes taking commissions, Kerry’s paintings are now finding homes not just in Australia, but also in England and France.

Kerry can’t quite remember when she first started painting; or rather she can’t remember a time when she didn’t. As a little girl she loved to draw horses and other animals, sitting alongside her mother – also an artist – while she painted.

From her studio in the verdant hills of Mount Kembla on the New South Wales south coast, Kerry hosts art retreats and workshops for between six and eight students at a time. The studio, Kerry explains, has “long white walls on one side, with space for the students to work from built-in easels. On the other side of the studio there are big clear windows that overlook the paddock and the creek. It is a tranquil place to nurture and encourage other artists.”

True to form, Kerry has recently added yet another artistic venture to her busy schedule: a gallery that she has co-founded in the nearby country town of Gerringong. Fern Street Gallery is a space where Kerry is able to show her own and other local artists’ work, a move that sits well with her philosophy of sharing a love for art.

Despite her round-the-clock schedule, Kerry finds her happiest moments in the early morning, music playing, light streaming through the window, alone in her studio with a bunch of freshly picked roses from the garden. The artist says that her painting day starts with “coffee and a charcoal sketch to get warmed up. I abstract the flowers into my style and then it’s onto the big canvas with the same approach, building up my layers and finishing with big, juicy roses with lots of paint and energy. It’s when I indulge in colour, surrender to the process and let the freedom of creativity flow.”

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