Alcohol artist Jean Dwyer delivers stunning creations
A CHANCE DISCOVERY IN THE UNITED STATES LED ARTIST JEAN DWYER TO EXPLORE THE COLOURFUL WORLD OF ALCOHOL INK ART EVER SINCE
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 Jeandwyerart.com.au.
“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.”