Nineteen is a significant number for Helen Macdonald. She moved to Bribie 19 years ago. And 19 years ago Helen became a member of the Bribie Island Community Arts Centre where this April she is Artist of the Month. Her good friend and fellow member, Lola Watts, introduced Helen to art shortly after her arrival on the island.
Featured image(above): Pelicans
Helen’s first Working Together Group with Lola was the Thursday Painters, a group which continues to this day in Studio Two. In her 19 years of membership, the irrepressible Helen Macdonald has been Artist of the Month four times, previously exhibiting with Leslie Swallow, Stephanie Domegala, and the Inspiration through Art Jewellery Group which she was running at the time. In addition to being Artist of the Month, Helen has been in a Matthew Flinders Gallery exhibition for every one for those 19 years.
Helen’s Studio 2 mural
In fact, sometimes she was in two exhibitions per year, the most recent Little and Large with Stephanie White. This accomplished artist enjoys “the challenge,” she says, “of being hung on the wall!” It is rather appropriate therefore that while her work hangs on the Artist of the Month wall, her art hangs concurrently in the Matthew Flinders Gallery Kaleidoscope Exhibition, which she also organized.
Despite a couple of major personal setbacks, making her amazing abilities all the more impressive, Helen managed to curate Kaleidoscope in the last year. Half the exhibited work is by whom she calls ‘My special people’— friends and artists—chosen by her, and the other half are coloured pencil artists also known to her, and no less special. She would have liked an all coloured pencil exhibition, but there simply aren’t enough of them. Which brings us to the reason Helen mounted the Kaleidoscope Exhibition.
Ask her which art form is her favourite and she will tell you, “Whatever I’m doing at the time – coloured pencils at the moment!” Who would have guessed? The Kaleidoscope artists, so proclaim their Arts Centre flyer, ‘Are pleased to present a plethora of goods handmade with love,’ which includes sewing, wax coloured pencil works, cards, acrylics and watercolours, sculptures, glass art, collages, pottery, and jewelry.
Helen Macdonald has another more permanent claim to artistic fame: the brilliant and animated tropical mural covering the three walls in the courtyard behind Studio Two. It was a shared work also organized by her. It is obvious Helen loves to paint Bribie scenes and use many media. Her colourful paintings attest to this.