ART graduates Kathryn Dolby and Dan McDonnell braved the threat of floods to travel from Lismore to Grafton on Thursday night to attend the gallery's first official openings for 2015.
The event signalled the opening of five exhibitions including the students' first installation in a regional gallery - Abstract Wonder.
The two Southern Cross University graduates, who recently completed their Bachelor of Visual Arts, majoring in painting, said they were honoured to have their works included in the exhibition that showcases new and recent works by the university's art students.
As the name of the exhibition suggests, their style is freeform applied at a more rapid pace than traditional techniques.
For some of Dan's paintings he opted to forgo the brush for his hand, applying thinned-down oil paints in one sitting to come up with images full of movement.
"They probably took me about three hours each to do," he said.
Dan said he found the abstract approach more exciting than still life.
"You don't know where it is going to go," he said.
"With still life you already know the end result before your start."
Katherine also produced some similarly fast-paced works as well as some smaller, more controlled works that explore both abstract and structured applications.
"Those ones are more mixed media," she said.
Both graduates said they were excited to be heading down the artistic path despite the fickle nature of the industry.
Kathryn is already planning a move to Sydney as she plans the next phase of her career, determined not to add to the most common art student statistic.
"A teacher told me only about five per cent of students go on to practise in art but I'm keen to beat that trend," she said.
Dan is planning a return to academia, aiming to earn a Masters in painting before looking to complete his PHD.
"I was exposed to a lot of opportunities at uni so I'm keen to broaden my horizons there and see what comes up. I'll give it my best shot anyway," he said.
The students also said that while government funding for the arts isn't great, there are some excellent residencies available, including the Grafton Regional Gallery's own Artist in Residence program.