Ever since she was a little girl, Greta Laundy has been creating art. “I won an art prize in Reception when I was 5 years old. I still remember it was $5 and how excited I was. Maybe this kick started my lifelong obsession with the visual arts! My parents were always very supportive of my interest in art and I would spend hours and hours drawing and painting and pouring over our treasured TIME art books.”
Greta went on to study a Bachelor of Visual Arts with 1st class honours. She also has a Master of Teaching in visual arts, teaching school students and adults part time. “As a teacher, it is important to be able to demonstrate a variety of techniques and skills to students, and this has developed my own skills. Nothing really beats the many, many hours I have dedicated to my studio practice and refining my skills through constant painting and drawing and plenty of experimentation. Experimentation is the best teacher!”
Greta now works from her home studio in the foothills of Adelaide’s inner southern suburb, Mitcham. She is fuelled by plenty of coffee, podcasts and ABC Radio National permanently on in the background. With views of her backyard, surrounded by ancient gum trees, Greta describes her studio as a place of peace and inspiration for her. “I am very fortunate because I have a home studio which means I can pop down to it anytime, even though it is very cluttered with art books, art materials, older works, too many stools and our puppy’s doggy blanket/bed. I am super messy when I’m in the midst of a painting and will try to clean up only after a painting is completed.”
“My work is generated intuitively. I find the more creative I am with sketching and ‘play’ (experimentation with collage etc.), the more ideas I have and want to explore in painting. I dislike being too prescriptive when I approach my canvas. I will just start with lines and work quite abstractly until a composition appears. I’ve learnt to trust the process of painting and not get too hung up about how something starts off, but to work with the lines and shapes I start with to develop the composition. Everything evolves slowly in an intuitive manner.
Greta mainly works with acrylics on stretched canvas, but also explores other mediums, “Oils, watercolours, reduction printmaking, colour pencil on paper, pastel, pens – whatever I can lay my hands on really! I use a combination of impasto and glazing techniques in my works. I’ve always loved glazing for the way it can make colour ‘pop’. I’m a total paint snob and only buy the best – either Matisse Structure or Golden acrylics. In oils, I love Australian brand, Langridge who have the BEST orange hue. I can’t live without my sketchbooks, and have numerous sketchbooks spread between my studio and our house.”
As a country raised girl, nature was an integral part of Greta’s life. “I simply love open spaces, rolling paddocks and hills, trees and leaf shapes. I am inspired by the big and small patterns of nature and how they can demonstrate interconnection of living forms. There are parallels in nature that I find endlessly surprising and I am fortunate to be able to go for walks in local recreational parts and just be amongst the peace that nature provides. The Flinders Ranges in South Australia has been very inspirational over the last few years; I have sketchbooks full of drawings made in response to my journeys there. It is a special, spiritual place.
Colour is also hugely inspiring. I like browsing magazines and looking at the way colour is used in interiors and fashion. Colour is so playful and fun. I love artists who explore colour in their work, from abstractionists such as Sydney Ball and Stephen Normandy to my enduring favourite, Matisse. I am becoming progressively more interested in hard edge abstraction as I develop my own colour ‘style’ more.” Greta also describes 1960s Modernism and textile design as seminal influences in her practice.
Through her work, Greta explores themes of nature and our interactions with it. “My landscapes are metaphors for connections. The interlocking shapes are generated intuitively during the process of the painting’s composition evolving and developing, and the way I use the formal elements of space, shape, colour and value ensures each part of the composition is interconnected with another part, much like we are all interconnected with our environment and each other.”
“I try to achieve a flowing, balanced, yet dynamic composition where colour, shape and space do the talking. I hope my art conveys my joy for life and the act of creating with a playful sense of colour. I try to achieve paintings that are suggestive of places without being specifically about a place.”
When considering her career and creative highlights, Greta describes commissions from special clients as being high on her list, along with “joining Forman’s family of artists of course! Also, this year I have joined Art to Art Gallery in Melbourne. Really though, every time a client connects with a painting enough to purchase it, is a highlight. Nothing beats knowing my work has resonated with someone else and I am genuinely very grateful and appreciative to be supported by my collectors.”
See Forman’s range of Greta Laundy works here!