Daylesford Macedon Ranges Open Studios event sees local artists open their studio doors

OPEN STUDIOS: Artists Anne Saunders and Doug Wright are just two of the local artists taking part this year. Photo: Kate Healy
OPEN STUDIOS: Artists Anne Saunders and Doug Wright are just two of the local artists taking part this year. Photo: Kate Healy

ARTISTS HAVE opened their studios for the seventh annual Daylesford Macedon Ranges Open Studios Event.

Anne Saunders and Doug Wright are participating in the event for the fourth year. Both former lecturers at Federation University, they moved to Daylesford in 2013 for a tree change, after which they built a home studio.

Mr Wright, a painter of 50 years, said the event gives artists a sense of connection to the community they are working in as well as an opportunity to give back.

"[Open Studios] offers a more relaxed viewing and I think people feel more comfortable in that sort of space to ask you questions about how you do it and what you are inspired by," he said.

"Being an abstract artist, it is all very spontaneous how works come about. You don't sit in front of a subject matter, you gather information visually, keep it in your memory and explore it openly in the studio."

Ms Saunders said to see a work in a studio situation was a different experience to seeing it in a gallery.

"It gives people the opportunity to visit an artist in their studio and ask them about their work, which doesn't happen when you are entering into a gallery space. A gallery director is there to support the artist but only an artist can be so close to their work that they can explain it and talk about it in detail."

Mr Wright works in various mediums - gauche, watercolour on paper, pastels and paintings with oil sticks -while Ms Saunders works in mixed media.

"Generally I start with ink washes and layer the work on paper. I enjoy the character of paper and how it moves - it's not static like a piece of canvas would be. Then I mix the media up with acrylic water-based paint and then draw through the work with wax crayon to tie it together," she said.

We get a lot of inspiration from local landscapes and atmospheres. We get inspiration - textures, colours and the changing seasons - just from being in a beautiful space.

Anne Saunders

Now retired, the couple often travel abroad, primarily to the United Kingdom where Ms Saunders is originally from, doing residencies and exhibiting their works.

As part of Open Studios, a group exhibition at The Convent Gallery in Daylesford showcases a work of each participating artist so visitors can choose which studios they would like to visit. Tina Banitska, Director of The Convent Gallery, said the venue was honoured to host the important creative event for another year.

"Over the years The Convent has played a major role in fostering, nurturing and supporting artists throughout our region," she said.

Alongside the group exhibition, the gallery is also displaying Yolanda Pilepich's newest works. Open Studios will run for the final weekend this April 20, 21 and 22.