SURROUNDED BY THE lush tropical gardens of Townsville in North Queensland, Sylvia Ditchburn takes nature to another level. Her works depict the many faces of the natural world through saturated colour and bold imagery.
Sylvia has honed her love of painting from a very young age, often playing with coloured chalk and making little creatures with plasticine. Having grown up in Darling Downs in inland southern Queensland, Sylvia was pleasantly surprised with her adult move to coastal North Queensland. “I really felt at home. It was the lushness, abundance, fecundity, strong light and warm rain, piercing blue sky and sparkling azure Coral Sea that took me by surprise and has never left me.” This is exactly what Sylvia captures in her alluring works.
Her impressive art training has allowed Sylvia to explore and evolve as an en plein air painter. Having attained a Diploma of Fine Arts, Distinction in Museum Curatorship and first class Masters and PhD at James Cook University, Sylvia brings her knowledge and vision to fruition by painting the lustrous forests of North Queensland. “There is so much diversity in Australia; the richness of the reds in the dramatic desert interior are my inspiration,” says Sylvia, who, because of the constant changing light outside, must work quickly and spontaneously in order to capture nature’s full energy and colour. She often takes photos for reference, allowing for accuracy when completing works back in her studio. “Field work is very rewarding as I can put more feeling into my art,” she says.
The artist sketches her ideas in thumbnails before upscaling to canvas or paper, drawing in with thin blue paint. “I like to work in layers starting with the under paint in complimentary colours to bring forward the vibrancy,” says Sylvia, who tends to focus on the dramatic areas of nature.
Sylvia has her own boutique gallery in Townsville that features not only her work but those of local artists. Recently, she worked on a Street Art Wall Mural in Townsville.