Orana Artist: Denise Faulkner

Meet Gulgong’s Denise Faulkner!

Tell us about your artistic practice:
I am watercolour painter who focuses on painting the local wildlife, especially the local birds, and our relationship with them. This often means placing my birds in situations which we as humans find comforting and normal, but are completely unfamiliar to them, as wild creatures. Through my paintings I endeavour to say something about the personality or behaviours of our avian friends, whilst adding a touch of whimsy, because who doesn’t need a touch of whimsy these days?

Proudest professional/creative moment?
Every time someone buys one of my paintings. I am always surprised and humbled that someone is willing to pay for one of my artworks and put it up on their wall and want to live with it every day. Also receiving a phone call from the director of Michael Reid’s gallery at Murrurundi asking whether I would like to put some of my paintings in their stockroom was a pretty exciting moment as well!

What inspires your work?
Having moved from the stress and chaos of the city, it took the move to the country to give me the inspiration and the time I was lacking. Where the only birds in the city were the noisy and aggressive ones, moving to a bush block outside of Mudgee I was surprised by the breadth and variety of birds which visited our bird baths, especially the small birds who would descend upon our bird baths in mixed flocks. At first I would just photograph them as they flit by in an attempt to identify them, from there it seemed natural to paint them. Over time I got to know the personalities of our regular visitors, so I started painting them in situations which would give a key to their personalities and habits.

What’s one thing that you wish you knew starting out?
Not to be afraid to be an artist. Twenty years ago I completed a Degree in Fine Arts through the National Art School in Darlinghurst and went straight from that to full time work. It took moving out here, having the peace and the time (and a fellow artist neighbour Merilyn Burch Carney putting my name on a group show poster), to actually make me pick up a paint brush again and start painting.

For more, follow Denise on Instagram and visit her website.