Eagle Bay artist Dorothy Davies launches new exhibition

Eagle Bay artist Dorothy Davies is about to launch her latest exhibition at Studio Gallery and Bistro.

Eagle Bay artist Dorothy Davies is about to launch her latest exhibition at Studio Gallery and Bistro.

Eagle Bay artist Dorothy Davies is about to launch a new exhibition Cornucopia at Studio Bistro and Gallery.

The award winning artist has gone back to her roots in design and intricate botanicals to add colourful graphics to her still life work.

"I normally do more traditional still life and during last year's lockdown I started playing around," she said.

Ms Davies had an accomplished career as a graphic designer which took her to work in London and Sydney.

She was recently named a finalist in the Busselton Art Awards for her still life oil on canvas painting titled Alchemy.

"ArtGeo was great because it is really hard for a still life painter to get into the finals of just about anything, landscape always wins especially in the South West," she said.

"It is such a niche but it suits a graphic designer very well."

Ms Davies painted and drew as a young girl and felt lucky because she always knew she would be an artist.

"The kick start was when I went to the dentist with my mum when I was six years old, I was terrified, we were not terribly well off my parents struggled," she said.

"I had seen an oil painting set in the window of the newsagent, I told my mum I really wanted it, she said, 'darling we can't afford it,

"As we got out of the taxi there was five pounds in the gutter, she picked it up and said, 'okay after the dentist we will go to the newsagent and buy you your oil set.'

"So we did and I remember she took me down to the Swan River at Crawley Bay where I sat and painted pictures of the boats on the water."

A "fantastic art teacher" in her final two years of school helped Ms Davies steer her career into a world of graphic design which took her to London and Sydney to work.

"It was really the beginning of the possibility in doing a degree in design as opposed to leaving when you were 15 years old and going to tech college," she said.

"He was the one who took me out to Curtin University (when it was the Western Australian Institute of Technology) to talk to them about my folio.

"I was really passionate and desperately wanted to do something with it, so I went to WAIT and did a degree in design."

When Ms Davies was in her final year at university her grandfather passed away and "very kindly" left her $2,000 which was enough money to buy a ticket to London.

"I worked in packaging design and illustration, I loved it," she said.

Ms Davies said as a designer, still life was a very disciplined way of working.

"I like the orderliness of still life and its precision, as a designer I was very precise, and there is something about the quietness of still life," she said.

"You can be bowled over by landscapes, you can be bowled over by abstract that hits you, almost grabbing you and making you feel an emotion.

"I find with still life I can almost be wrapped in it, I can stand there for hours and look at a beautiful still life and it has a sense of calm."

Ms Davies said still life had an incredible background which originally grew from a desire for people to show how wealthy they were in the Dutch 16th and 17th Centuries.

"Wealthy merchants wanted to show off how rich they were and to do that they hired still life painters who would come in and paint their beautiful things," she said.

"Still life painters wanted to inject some of their own nuanced thinking and that is why you started to get in still life a candle burning down, a skull, a torn page of a book, petals from a flower that had fallen.

"They were used as a metaphor to remind us about our own immortality and that beauty was not lasting forever, and I love that about still life.

"As still life started to grow centuries ago, women started to paint quietly at night, it was not well paid but that was how they could survive as artists and still have children.

"That is why quite a lot of still lifes are quite dark because they were painted by candlelight.

"I have moved on from that mine are light and bright and full of colour and freshness, but it is the same story.

"I am a woman trying to paint within my home but still enjoy that development of still life as an art form."

Ms Davies' exhibition Cornucopia takes place at Studio Gallery and Bistro, Marrinup Drive, Yallingup from March 16 to 30, 2021.

This story The intricate work of Dorothy Davies first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.