What's on at Port Stephens Community Arts Centre: Abstract art and cards a plenty

SHOWING: A Bev Henry acrylic, titled Rosebud. Ms Henry is the feature artist at Port Stephens Community Arts Centre until September 14.

SHOWING: A Bev Henry acrylic, titled Rosebud. Ms Henry is the feature artist at Port Stephens Community Arts Centre until September 14.

Abstract art by Bev Henry and handcrafted greeting cards are the newest additions to the Port Stephens Community Arts Centre.

Henry is the Nelson Bay-based centre's feature artist from July 18 to August 12 and will be showing a number of her acrylic works in the gallery.

The centre, home to a wide range of artists from woodworkers, painters, sculptures and quilters, is also running a raffle, drawn July 27, with the prize a hamper of handmade cards created by its Paper Craft Group.

An earth, air, water and fire-inspired exhibition titled Elements of Nature, Spring Affair and Fusion will show in the gallery from July 28 to September 14. Works by creative textile members of the gallery will display unique handcrafted items and wall hangings.

Henry has always been passionate about art.

In 1972 while her children were young, she joined the Royal Art Society in Sydney where she was tutored by award-winning artist Frederic Bates, who was known for his landscape subjects.

Bates taught Henry the beauty of using oils and to appreciate landscapes. Wanting to broaden her experience, she took up water colours with Lindsay Sever, who was a traditional impressionist painter of landscapes and cityscapes. Under Sever's tutorship she developed a love of plein air (outdoor) painting.

Through plein air painting, which Henry practiced for over 30 years, she was fortunate enough to be tutored by artist and Australian Artist magazine founder Allan Waite who specialised in oils and water colour.

As a member of plein air painters, Henry has traveled and painted extensively across NSW and the world. Henry attended a Willoughby workshop by Tony Tozer, for abstract modern art and found her niche.

Henry spent about 40 years traveling to enjoy as well as present art classes.

She moved to Nelson Bay in 2006 but travelled back to Sydney frequently to paint. Two years ago she joined the Port Stephens Community Arts Centre. Her trips away have become less frequent and she instructs members of the centre.

Helen McNamara, a member of the Paper Craft Group, said the greeting cards created by members as a raffle prize were the result of learning a new skill.

Handmade cards created by the Paper Craft Group is the prize of a Port Stephens Community Arts Centre raffle that will be drawn July 27.

Handmade cards created by the Paper Craft Group is the prize of a Port Stephens Community Arts Centre raffle that will be drawn July 27.

"Each month we focus on a specific technique so that members who have recently joined the group can be introduced to a new technique, and the long-term members can improve and share their skills. Each month we have one or two members prepare and present an appropriate mini workshop," she said.

"During recent months some of our members have presented mini workshops based on creating backgrounds for our cards, making Double-Z cards, Box cards, Shaker cards.

"At present we are focusing on the various uses of foils and flakes to enhance our work. We are very appreciative of the members who have put time and effort into presenting these workshops. Although participation is entirely voluntary, we are delighted that most of our members are keen to learn new techniques and to improve current skills.

"You can see some of the work completed as a result of these mini workshops in our card display which contains a huge variety of cards for all occasions."

Port Stephens Community Arts Centre is open free to the public 10am-4pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 1pm on Sunday. The garden cafe is open Saturdays 10am-2pm. For more information go to artscentrenelsonbay.org.au.

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