Dreamy scenes brought to life
Anglesea artist Karren Stoneham was able to find a wonderful silver lining through the challenges of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns.
It was during that time she discovered a love for painting with her hands while taking weekend art classes through Porta Vermelha Studio in Bellbrae.
What began as a hobby for the visual and performing arts teacher quickly turned into much more.
“My passion grew into an obsession of seascapes and clouds and painting became my creative outlet to fill in my time when we were stuck at home during COVID restrictions,” Karren recollects.
“It made me take time out of my fast-paced lifestyle to have moments of calm and let my artistic talents emerge.”
Karren, who was the founder and director of Anglesea Music Festival, has since produced an array of beautiful paintings and a circular canvas has become fundamental to her art.
“My paintings are largely about reverie; a sense of place, a desire to be there,” she says.
“Circular frames add an interesting dynamic to the paintings, symbolising windows or portholes looking out into a dreamlike realism of the Surf Coast.
“My aerial perspectives are intended to inspire the viewer to reflect on the endless beauty of coastal Australia.
“The breathtaking coastal vistas and the big Australian skies along with their ever-changing moods, the magical way the sunlight shimmers on the sand and the beauty of my own backyard is the motivation for my work.
“My photography, memory, and imagination all become the reference points that contribute to the creation of my paintings.”
Karren sold her first painting in the early days of the pandemic after Morgan’s Bar & Grill in Anglesea offered to display her artwork.
It was to be the beginning of an exciting new art journey.
“It was when masks were first introduced, and we were all discovering the harsh reality of the tough times to come,” she says.
“Living in a thriving creative community gave me a spirit of support, it drove my burning desire to just dive into my art and really give it my all.”
While nature is an endless source of inspiration, Karren says she is also inspired and encouraged by her fellow creatives.
“I am inspired by my Mum who at the age of 80 is still painting and is an amazing talent.
“I am also inspired by local artist Sharryn Jenkinson and enjoy every Saturday painting at Porta Vermelha Studio when restrictions are not in place.”
Karren has displayed and sold her work at Surf Coast Art Gallery in Torquay, the Anglesea Art House and through other local businesses.
But the highlight will be her first solo exhibition which opened yesterday (Friday, January 21) at Lorne Community Connect.
“I am super excited to have my own art exhibition taking place in Lorne,” Karren says.
“Painting makes me immerse into a carefree world, it’s like returning to the days when as a child you would find a patch of grass, lie back and watch clouds go by, using imagination to see images and losing track of all time.
“I love where I live and painting and creating is my happy place.”
Karren’s exhibition is at Lorne Community Connect, 2 Otway Street, on January 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30 from 10.30am to 1.30pm. Mask and QR check-in are mandatory.
Discover more on Instagram @karrenstonehamartist or her website.