acclaim for handmark artists ―

Print-maker Melissa Smith and Painter Helene Weeding have been nominated as finalists in separate prestigious art prizes.

Helene Weeding’s raw reflection of COVID quarantine impressed the judges in the Caleen Art Award, which will be announced in early October in NSW’s Cowra Regional Gallery.

Her Isolation Diary was created during a traumatic family time. In April Helene’s young grandson was rushed to Melbourne for a medical emergency. After racing over to see him, Helene used art as a means of softening the blow of quarantine on her arrival back in Tasmania.

Fourteen daily diary entries capture Helene’s loneliness: On day one she finds the experience of being locked in a Launceston hotel room ‘daunting’. A solitary watercolour apple sits on a jar: “As well as being a social commentary about the impact of COVID, this is also a very personal work that reveals the de-humanising effect of isolation during what was a very fraught time,” Helene reveals.

Print-maker Melissa Smith turned to the silence of the bush to impress the judges of the Sunshine Coast Art Prize, which will be announced in mid-October at the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery.

Her sublime work, Reaching into the Stillness, was selected as one of 40 finalists. In it we see a scattering of wildflowers which “punctuates the background of trees and sandstone shelves” of a bush landscape “layered in its own history and stories.”

With the Sunshine Coast Art Prize open to all mediums and subject matter, Melissa says she is “honoured and humbled to be chosen as a finalist.”