Local artist Deirdre Drysdale has won a Bursary to the 2018 McGregor Summer School, chosen for her three paintings which were exhibited at this years Downlands College Art Exhibition.

Drysdale’s style of abstracts of the Australian landscapes from a Qantas jet struck a chord with curator Evan Hollis. The work celebrates expressionist cues with raw and emotional drawings.

“I have always enjoyed drawing, and at college was asked to design costumes for final year drama productions,” Drysdale said

“It was only when I came to live in Australia about ten years ago that I really began painting, as I was intrigued by the colours in the landscape. I wanted to see if I could portray my emotional responses on canvas.”

The inaugural USQ Artsworx Encouragement Award is designed to inspire and assist emerging artists to develop their skills.

This exhibition provides them the opportunity to hang their own work, and view other artists’ pieces.

Drysdale has previously submitted work into the exhibition and Hollis has been able to see the progression of her work.

Hollis notes Drysdale’s palpable style and choice of subject reflecting the influences of where she has lived and worked; drawing inspiration from countries such as Australia, Brunei, Denmark, England, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Malta and Nigeria.

“Deirdre draws on her wonderful observation talent. [She] combines this with a trained skill set to create objects of insightful, natural beauty,” said Hollis.

Drysdale says Sidney Nolan and Tom Roberts are major influences to her style of art, especially to her winning pieces.

“I have been developing my own style and have also branched into expressionism; [I] move between this and the more figurative style,” she said.

“I try to spend at least a part of a day each week out sketching, and around the time of Cyclone Debbie the skies offered a wonderfully dramatic atmosphere. I made a few sketches and then returned to the area to photograph the changing cloud formations for reference.

“Over the following months these sketches and photographs helped me to bring together the compositions I had in
mind. Everything seemed to fall into place in plenty of time to frame them for entry.”

The McGregor Summer School and Arts Retreat runs in January at USQ Toowoomba.

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