Over the past 10 months, painter Belynda Henry has begun her days with a walk out through the paddocks to an idyllic oasis: her new neighbours’ dam, densely bordered with lush vegetation. It is here that she’s watched the abundant birdlife, ‘dart in and out of view, skimming across the surface, and transforming a glass surface into a ripple of energy’.
Throughout these everyday encounters with the environment, Belynda has been sketching, photographing and committing the scenes to canvas, before returning to her studio to work on them further. ‘If you stand there and just watch you feel transported; the image in front of you is so full of energy it seems to nearly vibrate,’ describes Belynda, noting that with eyes closed it’s a scene that literally sings!
The now completed body of work is entitled Reflections, yet this word also signifies the striking compositional device Belynda has applied to her paintings. ‘I felt success and a strong pull towards the images I was creating, so I decided to dedicate my thought process to reflections: reflections of the water but also reflecting back on the scenes once I was back in the studio,’ she explains.
Along with this new direction, the show marks several other emboldened firsts for the artist. It sees her explore oil-on-canvas for the first time, in addition to select works-on-paper in her signature watercolour. ‘It seemed to get heavier as the show went on; I enjoyed using a palette knife more and more as well as a brush stroke,’ Belynda details. ‘The colour oil gives is much richer, and never in my career have I been more excited to be a painter than now!’
While past exhibitions like Wanderer and Mountain Sky have been amalgams of several landscapes, Belynda reflects that it has been nice to focus on only one area for a change, ‘…new surroundings and a new landscape view to explore!’. ‘I suppose I am at the stage in my career where I am confident to start taking some risks,’ she tells ‘…being brave enough to try other methods and ways of looking at the landscape.’
Another strong influence has been that of Belynda’s heroine Elisabeth Cummings, who she saw interviewed at Newcastle Art Gallery last year. ‘Her paintings connected with me in a strong way… I always have a page open in her book to remind me not to forget about mark making!’ Belynda adds.
The artist will open her exhibition at Flinders Lane Gallery’s new home, in the iconic Nicholas Building, early next month. Head down to see the transporting paintings in real life, and celebrate this gallery’s 30-year milestone!
Reflections by Belynda Henry
April 2nd to 20th
Opening Thursday, April 4th, 5:00-7.30pm
Flinders Lane Gallery
Level 1, Nicholas Building,
37 Swanston Street, Melbourne