‘Jigsaw’ by Belynda Henry, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 167 x 167 cm.
‘Side Part’ by Belynda Henry, 2014, acrylic and pastel on canvas, 182 x 152cm.
‘Jewel’ by Belynda Henry, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 92 x 92 cm.
I first discovered the work of Australian artist Belynda Henry during one of my frequent late night Pinterest sessions. Her lush, abstract landscapes were hard to ignore… and definitely answered to the sirens of that often overused ‘repin’ button!
Based in the Dooralong Valley in NSW, about an hour and a half from Sydney, it’s no surprise that Belynda’s greatest source of inspiration is her surroundings. Belynda lives and works from her family home, which sits on the outskirts of thousands of acres of national park. She says it takes ‘twenty minutes just to drive up the drive way!’
Originally trained in sculpture at the Sydney College of the Arts, Belynda then went on to complete a degree in education, and spent three years after her studies working as an art teacher full-time. However, while teaching, Belynda could not resist the urge to paint, so when she fell pregnant with her first daughter, it was an opportune moment to take time out from her job and concentrate on her art. This decision certainly paid off, as only a short while later, in 2000, she was a finalist in the Art Gallery of NSW Wynne Prize. ‘This was a defining moment for me, as I started selling my paintings, found my groove and resigned from my full-time teaching position after only three years,’ Belynda recalls. Thirteen years and 21 solo shows later, Belynda was once again a finalist in the Wynne Prize last year. ‘This time I had enough behind me to really make it count’ she says. ‘I feel like it is the most exciting period of my career right now.’
Belynda’s latest exhibition, Jigsaw, opens at Anthea Polson Art Gallery in Queensland this weekend. This latest body of work continues to document Belynda’s rich rural surroundings using her distinctive palette of muted, hazy hues. Belynda often spends weeks on each painting – ‘I present myself with a ‘Mr Squiggle’ style problem, and my aim is to work through this massive jigsaw puzzle’ she explains. ‘My process involves lots and lots of layering, until the shapes of the landscape begin to appear.’
Jigsaw by Belynda Henry
Open 29 March to 12 April
Anthea Polson Art Gallery
Mariners Cove Seaworld Drive
Main Beach, QLD