Willemina's art improving with age

Willemina's art improving with age


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'I HAVE WORKED OUT WHAT I REALLY LOVE': Willemina Foeken, pictured at work in her studio, is preparing for a new exhibition. Photo: Marty Hall

'I HAVE WORKED OUT WHAT I REALLY LOVE': Willemina Foeken, pictured at work in her studio, is preparing for a new exhibition. Photo: Marty Hall

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Her new exhibition captures the beauty of the WA bush.

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Southern River artist Willemina Foeken is busy preparing for her new solo exhibition capturing the beauty of the WA bush.

The exhibition, Dwellingup Revisited, will showcase oils, watercolours, pastels and relief prints of bush scenes, kangaroo paws and banksias.

In 1962 Willemina stayed in Dwellingup as a student teacher at Pinjarra High School. She recently returned to the area to work on local landscapes.

The award-winning artist and art teacher, who tutors small groups in her Southern River studio and has exhibited in New York and the Netherlands, is an inspiring example of talent and confidence blossoming with age.

As a school leaver in 1960 she was awarded best in the state for art but for many years suffered self-doubt.

“I got married, had three children and was busy teaching,” she said. “My art was in the doldrums for a long time.

 “I studied art at university but felt my work was going against the tide and that I was born in the wrong century.

“Everyone was into alienation, isolation and general misery, but I loved the world around me and wanted to explore it."

Things started to change after she retired, freeing Willemina to paint more. Now, at 74, she believes she is improving with age.

“I have worked out what I really love and what I really want to do," she said.

 “I realised there was nothing I would rather do than paint and regardless of whether people liked it or not, I was going to keep doing it.”

Her approach is to immerse herself in the atmosphere of a place and to look, explore and analyse what’s before her until the essence of the subject starts to emerge.

Willemina’s work has won many prizes, and in 1993 she received the Shire of Plantagenet Acquisition Prize for most outstanding work in all categories. Last year she exhibited her work along with four other senior female artists in Kalamunda.

Her new exhibition runs March 3-April 3 at the Forest Discovery Centre Gallery in Dwellingup.

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