Al­co­hol artist Jean Dwyer de­liv­ers stun­ning cre­ations


Style Magazine - - Contents - BY DAR­REN BUR­TON

Any­one who en­joys a tip­ple will soon be able to tell you their favourite drop, but for lo­cal artist Jean Dwyer, al­co­hol has an­other use that so many of us would never have con­sid­ered – as art medium.

Orig­i­nally from the UK, Dwyer was “whisked off by her Aussie bloke” to live in Dir­ran­bandi (western Queens­land) be­fore mov­ing to Toowoomba four years later – a city she’s de­lighted to call home.

“I count my blessings ev­ery day to live in such a beau­ti­ful place,” Dwyer said.

“I had a suc­cess­ful ca­reer here and our two chil­dren at­tended school here and we now have six grand­chil­dren. There are blessings ga­lore.”

Dwyer’s art jour­ney started when she moved to Toowoomba and she had the op­por­tu­nity to take paint­ing and draw­ing classes.

“I tried pas­tels, char­coals, acrylics,” she re­called.

“My art had to fit in around ca­reer and fam­ily, but it al­ways found a way as I was in­com­plete with­out it.

“I have al­ways un­der­taken cour­ses and classes when some­thing sparks my in­ter­est.”

With a love of all things cre­ative, Dwyer’s artis­tic world was turned up­side down when she stum­bled across al­co­hol ink art while trav­el­ling in the United States three years ago.

The tech­nique in­volves pure colour be­ing sus­pended in al­co­hol. Then the al­co­hol evap­o­rates as you paint with it leav­ing be­hind an in­tense colour.

“I was truly in awe and just wanted to get my hands on them,” Dwyer said.

“I call them the party girl of the art world be­cause they are so much fun. They are bright, amaz­ing and un­pre­dictable.

“Af­ter years of paint­ing with other me­dia, here was some­thing re­ally dif­fer­ent and very chal­leng­ing.

“I wanted to change my art style and this was just what I needed.”

Dwyer re­called the ex­cite­ment of fi­nally be­ing able to try the tech­niques at home.

“When I fi­nally got to buy some in Aus­tralia, they were al­most un­heard of then (and still al­most now),” she said.

“Their rich colours and flu­id­ity were amaz­ing and the prospect of what I could achieve with them in­spired me to learn all I could.

“I rarely use a brush, but I do push, flow and blow the ink where I need it to go.

“They dry very quickly, so I use dif­fer­ent tech­niques to achieve dif­fer­ent re­sults.”

Dwyer said that while learn­ing her new style, she en­coun­tered plenty of “disas­ters along the way”, but these beau­ti­ful whoops (as she de­scribes them) could still have the abil­ity to turn into some­thing truly amaz­ing.

“The thing is with inks you can never get ex­actly the same thing twice, so each paint­ing is ab­so­lutely unique,” she said.

“I love that. Af­ter lots of prac­tice and happy mis­takes, I have now de­vel­oped my own style.”

Dwyer said the inks lent them­selves very eas­ily to land­scapes and blooms, but she of­ten paints more in­tri­cate works in

Af­ter lots of prac­tice and happy mis­takes, I have now de­vel­oped my own style

de­tail such as but­ter­flies, ze­bras, fairy wrens, and the like.

“I much pre­fer the free-flow­ing works of land­scapes and blooms, as the inks show their true beauty,” she said.

“I show them in a lo­cal art gallery and I of­ten hear com­ments like ‘wow, that’s amaz­ing’ and ‘how do you do that with ink’?

“I do not think pho­to­graphs do them jus­tice as they have the most beau­ti­ful sheen and do look vi­brant and lively.”

With such a love for her new medium, Dwyer’s mis­sion is “to spread the word, be­cause they are just too won­drous not to share”.

She con­ducts pro­grams for be­gin­ners as well as more ad­vanced classes and book­ings can be made via her web­site Je­and­wyer­

“I of­fer a one-day be­gin­ners’ class and a one-day land­scape and flow­ers class,” she said.

“As well as that, I’m do­ing a week­end work­shop at Mur­rays Art and Fram­ing in Ruthven Street in March, 2018.”

Dwyer show­cases her work in a va­ri­ety of out­lets in­clud­ing The Met Gallery (Vil­lage Green), High­fields (be­hind the Choco­late Cot­tage) and she also has a dis­play for sale at The Rus­tic Tree­house (Ridge Shop­ping Cen­tre, Hume Street).

“I also have Emu and Poppy Crys­tal Epoxy Blocks for sale at both the Art Gallery Shop, Ruthven St and Toowoomba Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre, James St,” she said.

“Or every­thing is avail­able from my web­site.”

When she’s not cre­at­ing mag­nif­i­cent works from her home stu­dio, Dwyer is con­tent to spend qual­ity time with her fam­ily and friends – all of whom de­light in see­ing her do some­thing she truly loves.

“I have a beau­ti­ful friend who has been my paint­ing buddy all of this time and we share notes and thoughts and she is my sound­ing board, as well as my very sup­port­ive fam­ily,” she said.

“It’s a great bal­ance to my life.”

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