Dramatic palettes

Creative Castlemaine couple Rosie McKenry and Bruce Mitchell have notched up the sort of travels many would envy.
In their upcoming exhibition this inspired duo share much of what they’ve loved most about some of our planet’s most powerful landscapes.
Earth’s Shapes and Colours: Australia and Beyond is the title of this new exhibition opening Saturday March 23 at their own home gallery space in Campbell Street, as part of the Castlemaine State Festival.
The title delivers instant insights into the works – McKenry’s paintings and Mitchell’s photos.
A dramatic palette – vibrant turquoise blues and rich ochre reds suffuse McKenry’s paintings.
“I need to see red rocks. I’m addicted to red rocks just like Bruce is addicted to albatross,” she says.
Paintings in this exhibition span 2002 to recent months with many depicting landscapes encountered during last year’s travels along the vast Western Australian coastline.
“The further north you get the more vibrant the colour,” McKenry says
“There’s nothing quite like it,” Mitchell adds.
Many of his featured photographs were taken “with an ageing Canon” during earlier expeditions to Antarctica, many of them celebrating remarkable wildlife encounters.
“It’s exhaustingly exciting,” he laughs.
“We all have our passions. Mine include birds, rocks and enormous skies.”
The colour, light and artistry encountered in Chilean street scenes are also among his personal favourites.
The two have lived and worked extensively among remote Aboriginal communities and name Central Australia and the Kimberley region among their most enjoyed locations.
McKenry says she only ever paints scenes she has personally experienced, and this quite often includes experience from an aerial perspective.
“You see the patterns from the air that you never see from ground level,” she observes.
“You see that nature has its own patterns like the tree pattern that we also see in our own veins and we see it also in all the tributaries and river systems.”
McKenry uses a stain painting technique, building up multiple layers of transparent acrylic paint on untreated canvas to achieve complex and rich subtleties.
Both local creatives say the thing they enjoy most about participating in Castlemaine’s State Festival is meeting those who visit their home, enabling them to share their artistic passions.
And McKenry says all are welcome to attend the opening for this exhibition at 2.30pm on Saturday March 23 in their home at 8 Campbell Street.

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