Please enjoy viewing these as much as I have enjoyed painting them...
Australian born Carolyn Donovan travels extensively practising art and its techniques. Her work is a visual journal of wild and beautiful terrain. An ethical approach to nature is evident in all her paintings, making her work both emotive statement pieces and highly desirable.
An upcycling artist with a background in advertising and fashion, Donovan’s work has most recently been on display during formal events at the 2019 United Nations Global Association Summit focusing on the environment. She has a permanent exhibition at the Australian Consulate-General New York’s Manhattan building.
Beginning art tuition at a very young age, a strong artistic environment saw her sketching recognisable portraits at the age of two. Many of her mother’s family were artists: her uncle, George Duncan, and aunt, Alison Rehfisch, forming part of the close-knit bohemian artists’ pack that included other regarded Australian artists; Norman Lindsay, William Dobell, Dora Jarret, Grace Cossington Smith, Douglas Stewart and Margaret Coen. “I know they held wild parties in their George Street studio,” Donovan recalls. At one such risqué fancy-dress ‘loincloth party’ in their studio, Norman Lindsay did a voluptuous painting of a bare-breasted Rehfisch dancing in a grass skirt - which is still exhibited today.
Growing up in the inner western suburbs of Sydney, Donovan completed her education at the Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School. Even as a child, she was being commissioned to sketch, illustrate and paint. "There isn't a point where I recall starting to draw,” she says. “It was something I felt I was born being able to do. My earliest memories are painting, sculpting, drawing, and reading: it was my entire life. It surrounded me, fed me and consumed our family activities. I went to an artistic school. My parents were arty. We were always in galleries or making things. So I was always creating, or around other people who were creating."
Throughout the 1990’s Donovan worked overseas in the fashion and advertising industry throughout Europe, Japan and America, attending art classes wherever she resided. Returning to Australia, she undertook more formal Fine Arts training, studying at the Queensland College of Art in 2005. However, it was the sudden death of her mother that really fanned the flame of the importance of creating and she has been painting seriously since 2015.
Using these foundations, heavily layered with Australian culture, rich colours and the unmistakable characteristics of growing up in the land down under has made her work highly desirable, featuring in numerous public and private national and international collections.
Her New York exhibition in May 2019 was a sell-out - the installation was also included in formal events for the United Nations Global Summit NYC in September 2019 - however Donovan mainly works on commission pieces and is represented throughout Australia, the United States and Asia. Her current series, A GOD’S EYE VIEW, is raising interest with its boldly coloured aerial abstracts.
Look closely for the many lines and strokes, dots, scratches and markings that make up each painting. She often personalises consigned artwork with words or initials to be discovered with delight by the new owner.
On paintings from the GOD'S EYE VIEW Series…
“Capturing vibrant angles of untouched rugged coastlines, spanning across to the center of one of the longest volcanic lines in the world; the undeniably characteristic Australian landscape is exhilarating when viewed from above - a vast sense of seemingly limitless wealth and inspiration.”
And the newly beginning PAVE PARADISE Series…
“The lines from a Joni Mitchell song, ‘they paved paradise and put up a parking lot’ came to mind when I started using bitumen. This thick, dexterous material almost decides for itself how it will be painted, but the message behind this fresh new series lasts longer than the heady aroma of bitumen drying. Just as progress and industry is necessary in our rapidly expanding world, so is using and repurposing materials intentionally in ways to benefit and enhance our living.”
God's Eye View
The Monash Room Gallery
Australian Consulate-General, New York NY
May 23 - August 30 2019
Land Down Under
United Nations General Assembly
NYC 2019 Environmental Summit
Sept 17 - Sept 30 2019
Works by Carolyn Donovan
Australian Consulate-General, New York NY
Doug Moran National Portrait Prize