Alpine Observer - North East Regional Extra

Reconnecti­ng with her first love


COURTNEY Young grew up on the far south coast of New South Wales on beautiful Yuin country, her father an oyster farmer and mother a teacher.

Although she had been interested in art for as long as she could remember, Courtney’s year 12 art classes provided little joy, replacing previous enjoyment with stress and disappoint­ment and making her wonder how she could possibly make a living as an artist.

Instead, she made her way to university in Melbourne where she pursued another of her passions - the environmen­t - receiving a Bachelor of Environmen­ts with a major in geography.

Courtney couldn’t quite leave behind her passion for art though and minored in art history.

Her post graduate studies in agricultur­al science led her to a career path in environmen­tal restoratio­n and regenerati­ve agricultur­e.

Her art went by the wayside for the most part in her 20s, with Courtney and her husband starting a family and becoming regenerati­ve farmers and business owners.

“My husband and I started Woodstock Flour not long after finishing uni and we mill organic grain grown by his family in Berrigan, NSW,” Courtney said.

“We also now grow grain here in Rutherglen where we recently bought a little farm.”

In addition to grain, Courtney and her husband also produce lamb and sell direct to the public.

With life taking shape for Courtney, she decided to commit to an art practise about five years ago and concentrat­ed on showing up to her studio every day in some capacity.

“When I committed to my art again, I really focused on reading as much as I could,” she said.

“I also simply look at lots of art, which is important to me because I love it, but also because I can learn so much from it.”

Courtney’s reignited love and passion for her art was dealt a slight curveball soon after she began, when she found out she was pregnant with her eldest child.

“We have two kids, aged four and two and I started painting more seriously not long after our eldest was born - it was very inconvenie­nt timing, really,” Courtney laughed.

“But I think having kids gave me a weird confidence that I could give it a go.

“I did a painting course at MAMA a few years ago which was really fun and I’ve participat­ed in a few online mentoring programs with various Australian artists.

“I also went to a bunch of Earth Canvas events and workshops which were great for meeting likeminded people and learning from some amazing artists.”

Along with juggling the farm, their business and the children, Courtney spends a couple of days in her studio each week working on landscapes using oil and acrylic on canvas.

“I often paint the landscape in some form or another and so I’m very much influenced by what’s around me,” Courtney said.

“At the moment I’m really enjoying trying to merge still life with landscapes and with that, I love seeing how I can paint somewhere between abstractio­n and figuration.

“I am also keen to explore sculpture soon.”

Courtney said that since moving to Rutherglen, the community has been supportive of both her artwork and her family’s business.

“It’s just a stunning region to live in and we moved here because the property we bought ticked a few practical boxes for our business and farming goals,” Courtney said.

“But it’s turned out to be far nicer than we could have expected.

“I love being close to the Wangaratta and Albury art communitie­s, and there have been many local opportunit­ies spring up to further develop my practice and career.”

An example of this was when Courtney recently won the Arts Rutherglen painting prize.

“It was a lovely surprise,” she said.

Earlier this month, Courtney also held her first solo exhibition entitled ‘The Cradle’ at Art Gallery on Ovens in Wangaratta.

‘The Cradle’ is a series of expressive, partly abstracted oil paintings based on work by the 19th century French impression­ist Berthe Morisot.

Courtney was interested in the artist’s work as a student and returned to Morisot as a way to explore the figure and how it can merge with the interior and landscape.

“I employed Morisot’s framing devices, the threshold spaces of windows and doorways, to portray the sometimes ambivalent scenes of motherhood and childhood,” Courtney explained.

“As a mother of young children myself, I drew from my own life to build on and re-contextual­ise Morisot’s paintings.”

Following the successful exhibition, Courtney will soon be releasing some work with Gallery Raye in Brisbane.

“I’ll also be having a solo show with AK Bellinger in Inverell, NSW in July and later in the year I’ll be showing some work at Hyphen in Wodonga.”

To keep up to date with Courtney’s exhibition­s and to learn more about her works and her artistry, visit courtneyyo­ or follow her on Instagram @_court_young_.

 ?? PHOTO: Kurt Hickling ?? ◆ SOLO SUCCESS: Courtney Young recently held her first solo exhibition at Art Gallery on Ovens in Wangaratta.
PHOTO: Kurt Hickling ◆ SOLO SUCCESS: Courtney Young recently held her first solo exhibition at Art Gallery on Ovens in Wangaratta.
 ?? PHOTO: Kurt Hickling ?? ◆ PICTURE PERFECT: Courtney Young makes sure all her pieces are aligned.
PHOTO: Kurt Hickling ◆ PICTURE PERFECT: Courtney Young makes sure all her pieces are aligned.

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