Judith Crowley's decade of art and wanderlust

Judith Crowley is capturing memories in her first solo exhibition. Picture: ROBERT PEET
Judith Crowley is capturing memories in her first solo exhibition. Picture: ROBERT PEET


Until December 9

Minnamurra Cafe

Kanahooka artist Judith Crowley loves to travel and in the past 10 years, she's managed to see quite a lot.

She has walked in the footsteps of her favourite poets in Paris, soaked up the food and fashion of Rome and explored the wilderness of New Zealand and Alaska.

But there were a few special moments that took her breath away. These are the ones she chooses to paint, in the hope of recapturing that feeling - and getting others to feel it too.

In her first solo exhibition, Postcards: Memoirs of an Artist Abroad, her favourite piece is one that depicts the sun setting on Venice called Mozzafiato - the Italian word for breathtaking.

"That was taken from a very special memory where we went on a gondola and we rounded the corner from the wharf," she says.

"We were out into the water and there was this amazing sunset with the silhouette of the church and that was one of those moments that was just breathtaking."

While on her travels, Crowley sketches and takes photographs of what she finds interesting. On returning home, she often combines part of several pictures to create a painting, weeks, months or even years after the initial trip.

The pieces in this exhibition represent 10 years of travelling and about 12 months of painting for at least four hours a day.

"What I tried to do with what I chose to paint was to try and capture the memorable moments I had in those places," she explains.

"Not just to say 'here's a painting of the landscape from wherever', it was more to say 'this is something that stopped me in my tracks and made me gasp in that moment and stayed in my mind'."

Crowley discovered her artistic talent nine years ago after a cancer diagnosis forced her to retire from work. She joined a cancer patient art therapy group and was shocked to find she had a hidden ability to wield a paintbrush.

She paints mostly with watercolours, though she has experimented with ink dot drawings while trying to capture intricate architectural details.

As well as the paintings, Crowley has created a coffee table book to go with the exhibition. Designed with her daughter, who is a graphic designer, each artwork has an accompanying postcard that shares Crowley's thoughts on the icon, city or country depicted.


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