Artist Statement - Meryl Bell
One of the abiding joys of my life has been the good fortune to have lived with an awareness of the unique plant and animal kingdoms in Australia. It is through my art that I hope to create this joy and awareness in others.
People who knew my German grandmother said she had a great love for our wildflowers and was never without them in her home. I also think that my fascination with colour was awakened under her influence when as a small child I discovered the brilliant embossed and beguiling little stickers which she has assembled in a scrapbook.
My early home life was that of a farmer’s daughter living on a property just outside Bridgetown in the South West corner of Australia where my sister and I went for bush picnics with our mother who taught us common plant varieties and passed on her knowledge of their habitats.
From our father we learned that all creatures no matter how small or how dangerous are to be respected and appreciated.
So until middle primary school when life became more structured days were never long enough for all our adventures and tasks.
Art practice and appreciation has always been a part of my life. In the teaching profession it was a wonderful tool and as our children moved into their tertiary education I was able to devote more and more time to acquiring the skills needed to communicate to others the joy to be found in our natural environment.
Again and again I marvelled at the synergy between our native plants, animals, birds and insects which live and thrive together and depend so much on each other.
Many Australian artists have made us visually aware of the vastness of landscape, the light and colours of the country, but there are also many surprises and delights to be found in the intricate structure of plants and their vibrant colouring. If my paintings make people stop for a moment to look, enjoy and wonder then I have succeeded.