• Michelle Meehan | Features Writer - intouch

Artist Inspired by the World Around Her

Painting has always been a happy place for Prudence DeMarchi. Whether she’s capturing the rawness of a life drawing model or waiting to see where the mood takes her with a dash of acrylic on canvas, painting offers Prudence the chance to escape the demands of the real world… if only for a little while.

“I’ve been painting since high school really, so roughly 12 to 14 years, and I enjoyed it so much I did a double degree in Fine Art and Education at Newcastle University,” she said.

“Straight from uni, I head down the path of teaching children with severe and complex disabilities. I’m 32 now and have been teaching for ten years. While I ended up teaching, the interest in art has always been there. It’s my time. When I paint, I don't worry about anything else in the real world or my endless ‘To Do’ list. It's just me, my daggy music and the paint!

“I’m currently on maternity leave from an Assistant Principal position at Newcastle Junior School on Hillsborough Road. I love my job, and I’m so lucky to be able to pursue both areas I’m passionate about.” Having previously created artworks just for her family and friends, Prudence recently took the scary leap into the world of the artisan market stallholder.

“My first Olive Tree Market was in July, and I’ve been chugging along since then. Before that I was just painting for myself, friends and family. I sent off an e-mail (to Olive Tree) not really expecting to get a response. Next thing I know I have less than a week to get organised! My goodness, what a flurry I was in. But we got there, and it was wonderful. I’m really looking forward to the next one.”

The busy mum lives in New Lambton with her husband Grant and six-month-old baby Annabelle, creating her works of art in the surrounds of her recently renovated laundry.

Above: 'Oh Really Blanche'

“I share my creative zone with my noisy washing machine at home,” Prudence said.

“As Annabelle gets older, I may be able to use separate studio space, but for now we’re at home. She’s a content little baby and will happily play on the floor while Mummy paints!

“My husband frames all my paintings for me - any excuse to hang out in his man shed. He does a wonderful job so I can’t complain.”

Inspired by the world around her, Prudence said motherhood has had some unexpected impacts on the way she creates her art - and the time of the day when inspiration hits!

“I’m currently painting using acrylics on canvas. I used to only work in oils and messy charcoal, but the clean-up is a lot more difficult. With a baby around I need to be able to just wash my hands and get going in a hurry!” she said.

“I’m constantly influenced by nature, fashion, architecture - anything really! If an amazing colour combination catches my eye, I make a mental note to make a painting out of it later. I have so many paintings in my head it’s hard to keep up! I mostly imagine them while I’m feeding my baby Annabelle at 3am.

“In saying that though, I don't meticulously plan out my paintings. I have an idea of what colours I’d like to use, and then I just start painting and see where it goes.

“I used to love life drawing and haven’t been able to get to it in a long time. That is my next little project - get back to the messy rawness of drawing naked humans!”

Check out Prudence’s latest work at this month’s Olive Tree Market, which will be held in Newcastle Civic Park from 9am to 3pm on September 1 and October 6. The Olive Tree Winter Market will also be held the following Saturday from 9am to 2pm in the grounds of the Maitland Regional Art Gallery. For more information visit www.theolivetreemarket.com.au

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