Marita Reynolds is a coloured pencil wildlife and nature artist; she lives in the Golden Plains shire in Victoria. Marita is sitting on the couch in her art studio in the glorious winter sunshine. As the photo was being set up Marita's demeanour gradually changed from relaxed to worried, this amused the photographer and myself.
“It's the photo, she quipped. “I'm not used to being photographed, but this is my natural look, there's no point glossing over it” Marita laughed.
“My inspiration comes from nature and wildlife first, I might see some black cockies out in the backyard, and once I get an image in my mind, I look for reference images. When doing a bird, I will often use Carol Moyes’s bird photographs, as a reference, her work has been a godsend, the way she captures the movement and personality of the bird is amazing. I like my images to look realistic. Once I see the bird, I then decide on the story I'm telling through my artwork, which includes where the bird is and what the bird is doing. Once I have the story, I will start to draw up the image in sketches. When I have the finished image, I use a light box to transfer my image on to Pastel mat paper. This is my process for all my artwork.”
“There is a variety of different coloured pencils to choose from, I like to use Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils and there's never one coloured pencil that is just right for the job, it's usually a matter of playing and layering different pencils to create an effect and a colour that I want. There is a lot of colour theory that goes into my work and I keep a book of formulas, if I get a colour that I like I will record that colour combination. I've been working on this drawing for about three weeks. The action shot of the platypus under the water is one I have been wanting to do for a while and it is on Pastel mat paper.”
“Unable to do face to face drawing classes with my students during isolation in 2020 I really looked at other areas I could use my creativity. I illustrated a Children’s book 'What Happens in Your Garden After Dark?' This was a new venture for me. The children’s book was created with my sister Jennifer King who wrote the poem; and my daughter Lisa Reynolds did the editing and publishing. The sequel to this ‘What Happens in Your House after Dark? Is currently under construction.”
During our interview we wandered around Marita's back garden. Marita’s garden is a haven for birdlife and this environment helps to inspire and motivate her creativity.
We are admiring the pond, which was created by Marita's husband Peter.
Wendy and Marita sharing a laugh in Marita's garden during the interview and photography session.
Written by Wendy Spall
Photography by Gordon Vanbeck