Hilary Herrmann in her Bangalow studio with one of her Angel paintings.
Hilary Herrmann in her Bangalow studio with one of her Angel paintings.

Art is life and life is art

For Bangalow artist Hilary Hermmann art is life and life is art.

The whole of her gloriously rambling home is an extension of her studio.

"Whatever I am working on in the studio inevitably gets dragged into the lounge room so I can stare at it while I am eating my dinner," Ms Herrmann said.

For Ms Herrmann the process of painting is about meeting the visual challenges she sets herself.

"I hate a white canvas so I always put a layer of turps and colour down just to start the painting

"Even if I have started with a very concrete idea, I might create something that I never imagined at the start.

"So I am always trying to resolve what I have done.

For the past 12 month Ms Herman has been at work on a new body of work about Angels.

"The works are based on the book of Enoch which is a book in the Bible that is not usually well known," she said.

"It's about these fallen angels that decide to come down to earth. They fall in love with women and have children that were often giants.

"Angels are part of Hindus, Christian and Jewish faith and it's a fascinating subject.

"For many people angels are about hope and protection."

In addition to her work on angels Ms Herrmann also completed a series of still lives that showed at Retrospect Galleries in Byron Bay last September.

With two major bodies of work completed its obvious that Ms Herrmann has a strong work ethic in the studio.

"Apart from the day to day life of running a house and raising a daughter, if I'm not painting then I'm researching new work," Ms Herrmann said

"I love the intellectual pursuit and the alchemy of learning."

Ms Herrmann has been working full time as an artist for the last 10 years describing herself as being a painting dilettante for most of her life

"I had been hanging around with art students since I was 18 and it wasn't until my daughter was 5 that I went back to study," she said.

"It was also that thing of realising my own mortality; you can't just talk about it any longer when you get past forty.

"I always had to work, and I have always had incredible jobs but I always have always been working on art in the background."

Ms Herrmann originally trained as a teacher and in the early 80's taught Vietnamese refugees in Sydney.

During the 90's she worked as a paper conservator at the NSW State Library, The Powerhouse Museum and Art Gallery of NSW.

Finally after a stint in Arnhem Land she returned to the family farm in Bangalow.

She also built several artist studios on the property which she rents out to local artist, creating a home grown artist community in the process.

"The studios are very casual and reasonably inexpensive and I have met some great people over the years," she said.

Ms Herrmann is also a great believer in entering art competitions having been chosen as a finalist in last August's Wilson Visual Art Award.

"Competitions make you produce and it can be quite cathartic to produce these paintings," she said.

"There is a thrill if you actually get chosen and for a regional artist, getting hung in one of these shows is great for the CV."

For more of Hilary Herrmann's work go to barebonesartspace.com.au

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