Art teacher Judith White, left, looks on as Julie Wecker works on her art at Grafton Artsfest yesterday.
Art teacher Judith White, left, looks on as Julie Wecker works on her art at Grafton Artsfest yesterday. Brendan Ray

Artsfest full of eager students

REINVENTING the visual appeal of pears, coloured tea pots and pumpkins was the task for a full class of Artsfest students during the autumn festival’s first day yesterday.

After just a few hours, the advanced mixed media workshop’s students’ drawings were taking a creative shape under the guidance of their tutor, Sydney artist Judith White.

Ms White, a painter for 35 years, has tutored at Grafton Artsfest for more than 10.

She started her students off at Grafton High School’s multi-purpose centre yesterday with ‘quite specific exercises’ that concentrated on common problems in painting, including composition and tonal range, so they could be ‘more autonomous’ in their art.

“I try to isolate problems that keep recurring for people in their painting,” Ms White said. “Often people don’t understand the thought processes of what they’re doing.”

Preceding her journey to Artsfest was a stint in Western Australia, where Ms White exhibited a collection of abstract landscape artworks, called Waterfield, at the Gadfly Gallery in Dalkeith.

She said her recent works were water-themed, and focused on ‘the power of nature and the transience of the environment’.

Describing herself as ‘an artist first, teacher second’, Ms White said it was the well-organised nature of Artsfest that kept drawing her back.

“The whole festival is so well-run – I find I get looked after as a tutor,” she said. “I also find the students here are great to teach.”

Artsfest runs until Sunday.



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