Artist's exhibition reflects beauty of Thirroul

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February 15 – March 21

The Egg & Dart, Thirroul

Change has been a key word for artist Zuza Zochowski during the past 18 months. 

Not only did she move from Goulburn to Thirroul, she also decided to deviate from the main way she had been creating art for the past two decades.

Her usual process was to work from a photograph, particularly images of landscapes, using oils rather than watercolours.

But she was bored. Although landscape continues to inspire her, she has taken to getting cosy on the ground and sketching or painting what she sees before her.

‘‘I not only really had to put away the camera and my photographs, I kept on trying to go back to it and see if I could explore it a little bit more. I had to literally put everything away almost in a locked box and force myself to go out,’’ Zochowski says.

‘‘I really forced that upon myself because I wanted to explore that idea of working from plain air rather than a flat image, which I was getting bored with.’’

Embracing volatile watercolours was also an exercise in adaptation after working with more obedient oil paints for years, but Zochowski found it added extra details.

‘‘Watercolour is particularly difficult. You can’t be focused on being frightened and just have to see how it works for you and not be thinking you have to paint in a particular method or way.

‘‘But you create the most amazing marks, mistakes almost, which you get surprised with.’’

Zochowski relishes the chance of finding something amazing when she heads out to walk her dog and paint three or four times a week.

‘‘I tend to go on big afternoon walks with my dog and you could turn a corner and there would be this beautiful light over an area.

‘‘There’s one spot I’ve done about four times now, on Lawrence Hargrave [Drive], there’s this break in houses where you can walk down the cliff and get to the beach. I tend to sit there. I’ve managed to be there so many times with different lights.’’

Her latest exhibition, Home, reflects Zochowski’s desire to put down roots somewhere new and features paintings of the area around her home in Thirroul.

It also helped Zochowski become familiar with the region.

‘‘I’ve obsessively been looking for a home and somewhere to land in and that’s sort of come out in my work as well,’’ she says.

While she still enjoys taking photos, Zochowski doubts she’ll return to working only from them.

‘‘I don’t want to go back to doing purely what I see in the photograph, I’ve always wanted to have a bit more exploration in it, but I really felt I had to go away from the photographs for a bit and see what I’m really searching for.’’

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