Artist Kerry Bruce's corner of Mt Kembla paradise

Mt Kembla artist Kerry Bruce. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Mt Kembla artist Kerry Bruce. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Kerry Bruce's artwork is an explosion of colour and light as she explores the female form for a new exhibition, The Woman I Am.

It's a location every artist dreams. An inspiring studio at Mt Kembla nestled in a hidden gully and surrounded by lush, pristine conditions. Throw in a trickling creek and you have yourself a creative retreat.

The fact that it's raining makes it even more perfect. Mist hangs low and everything is crisp, cool and clean. Colours seem more vibrant.

'It's just a beautiful environment to be in. I don't find the isolation lonely at all. I enjoy it.'

Surrounded by this natural wonderland, Bruce pumps up the music and sets to work. Sometimes she paints with purpose and other times she allows herself the freedom to paint what ever comes.

"It's so tranquil and peaceful here," says Bruce. "You wake up in the morning and you've got all these trees around you. There's no hustle bustle of the city. There's plenty of space."

Having moved to the Mt Kembla property with her family as a teenager, Bruce later purchased her own corner of paradise with her husband, Gary, when her parents sub-divided 18 year ago. Kerry and Bruce have raised three children.

"I'm a bit of a homebody," she said. "It's just a beautiful environment to be in. I don't find the isolation lonely at all. I enjoy it. I've always been creative. Both my mother and grandmother paint so it runs in the family."

It's only been the past 10 years that Bruce has been serious about her work. To make a name for herself in the competitive art world she started out donating large works to charity auctions. Since 2009 she has donated up to eight pieces to mainly Illawarra charities, such as Bandage Bear and The Daffodil Ball.

Sydney gallery Art2Muse, in Double Bay, asked her to come on board as one of their regular artists four years ago. She's about to exhibit her third exhibition at the high profile gallery, this time in collaboration with bronze sculptor Robyn Smith.

Fashion designer Camilla Franks has given her name and support to the exhibition, although she won't be attending the opening on Thursday due to suffering from the auto-immune disease Bell's Palsy, which resulted in the paralysis of one side of her face.

"When we were asked to consider a media personality to support us Robyn and I immediately thought of Camilla," she says. "She is the perfect person to back us, she's such an inspiration and we are grateful that she agreed. For me she was a natural choice. I use bright colours in my paintings and Camilla's kaftans are always colourful. I work mainly with pinks, reds and aquas. I like nice, chunky paint that I can scratch into and give some energy. My nudes are not created overnight. It's a bit of a journey with a lot of depth and passion."

Bruce's exhibition will be on display at Art2Muse Gallery until April 28. She also has paintings hanging at Chedos Cafe Restaurant in Coledale and at the Plaza Cafe in Thirroul.

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