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Natural connection

Above: Farley Cameron in her studio. Inset: Galore

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Natural connection

This year’s artist in residence at the Immanuel Arts Festival, Farley Cameron, creates one-off works that celebrate the Sunshine Coast’s flora.

The vibrant reds, muted teals and sunny yellows of the Australian bush take on an ethereal quality in Farley Cameron’s stunning artworks. Having grown up on the Sunshine Coast, she has a close affinity with our natural environment, but unlike many Coast artists, doesn’t paint our oceans and waterways.

“I have always been inspired by the flora of our coastal community and that is what I connect with as an artist,” she says.

“I grew up in Buderim surrounded by the beautiful natural environment and through my art I hope to capture its many moods. I get immersed in the shapes, the form, the line and the atmosphere it gives me.

“The subject matter might be wisteria or a grevillea tree. I just sort of try and reflect that and don’t put too much analytical reasoning into it when I start painting. I just let myself go and from there the painting starts to talk to me.

“I have a connection with the natural world,” she adds. “My thing is to try and reflect the pace of it and the rhythm of nature. I look at my subject matter and have an intuitive response to it and from there I’ll apply my learning.”

Ms Cameron was an arty child whose first influence was her grandmother, a professional dressmaker.

“I was always around fabrics and textiles and my mother was into it too. I still have an affinity with textiles. It’s my first love. I just can’t help myself.”

At the age of 18, Ms Cameron went straight from school to Melbourne to study textile design at RMIT University, an experience she describes as “overwhelming and fabulous”.

She returned to live in Buderim and started her own fashion label, Farley Designs, which she sold at the Riverside Markets in Brisbane, pulling back when she became a mother.

At the age of 40, she felt it was time to upskill and returned to study, completing a degree in computer art and design at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

After immersing herself in the world of graphic design, she yearned to return to her art. Her current artworks are created using a polychromatic printing process that involves painting water-based dyes onto a screen, then printing the image onto paper. This process allows for one print only therefore each painting is an original artwork.

Last year, her stunning piece Plenty won the painting section at the Immanuel Arts Festival and soon after it was snapped up by a buyer from Art Nuvo in Buderim, the gallery that represents her.

“I was absolutely thrilled,” she says. “I think it’s an amazing festival for the Sunshine Coast and the local artists, both established artists and people who aren’t established. It’s a chance for them to get their work seen because a lot of people go to it.”

Ms Cameron will return to the festival this year as artist in residence, so she’ll be on hand to discuss her work with visitors, as well as talking to students at the school.

Immanuel Arts Festival is on from May 25 to 27 with a gala opening on May 24 at 7pm at Immanuel Lutheran College. Proudly supported by My Weekly Preview.

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Leigh Robshaw is a journalist who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years. Originally from Sydney, she has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and Latin America. She joined the team in 2012 and is MWP's deputy editor. Writing, reading and travel are her greatest passions.

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