Love story on canvas

LOCAL landscapes are a constant inspiration for Jerrabomberra artist Jenny Sheppard's beautiful oil paintings.

Her connection to rural landscapes and the wilderness is the overarching theme in her latest exhibition titled "The Essence of Nature - Water, Rock and Wood".

The exhibition also features John Murphy's wooden sculptures of natural forms, flora and fauna and Barbara Donaldson's acrylic and watercolour works of familiar local landscapes.

Mrs Sheppard has contributed 50 works to the joint exhibition and her paintings depict scenes from around Queanbeyan, Bungendore, Braidwood, Shoalhaven and the Clyde Mountain.

"My style is quite traditional and impressionistic but I try to paint things that aren't traditional like cliff faces, fallen trunks and bush fires. There's a lot of hope and renewal in landscapes," she said.

Mrs Sheppard works from her home studio but ventures out to get a feel for each and every location.She said having a personal connection to the scene brings a sense of intimacy to the works.

"I don't do a lot of painting en plein air, which means on the spot. Most often I just sketch and draw. I try to get a feel for the special delight in detail and strength of the place. Then I try to finish the rest fairly soon and use photos to refer to," she said.

"The time of day is important, early morning or late in the afternoon is best. In the middle of the day, the colours are quite washed out, there are no real shadows or contrast of darks and lights. When you have that contrast, it's quite exciting."

Mrs Sheppard said the beauty of the landscapes emphasise her relationship with God.

"There's a passage in the bible, in Romans, that says 'God's creation is evidence of his being'," she said.

"The glory and majesty of the landscape give us a feeling of God's love for mankind. Each painting is a love story on canvas and invites the viewer to enter into the awesome beauty of God's creaiton. This for me is the essence of nature.

"I've noticed that most of my works have a little path in it. These paths let the view enter the painting and is symbolic of our choices in life, of good and bad and what path we choose to take."

Overall, Mrs Sheppard said the combination of the works and mediums from three different artists creates a dynamic and ultimately enlivening body of work.

"These are positive and uplifting works, I think a lot of art these days is quite negative and destructive," she said.

"All the artists are positive in their outlook and vibrant in their work. The viewer will leave feeling uplifted."

The Essence of Nature - Water, Rock and Wood officially opens at The Q on Tuesday, November 6 at 5.30pm. It will run until November 17.

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