KEEPING COMPANY: Loretta Waldron opens her new exhibition In the Company of Women.
KEEPING COMPANY: Loretta Waldron opens her new exhibition In the Company of Women. Ellen Ransley

In the company of Loretta Waldrom

AFTER 10 years away from the easel, Loretta Waldron felt an itching to put paint to canvas 18 months ago, in the process bringing 100 women to life.

In the Company of Women, at the Walk of Art Gallery, is an exhibit of 30 mixed media artworks, portraying women who arrived on Ms Waldron's easel as she resumed her art journey.

"I made a commitment to myself to get my skills back and build up my confidence, so I would just turn up every Saturday at the easel,” she said.

"At first I did a portrait course online with a tutor from Amsterdam.

"I've always loved faces, there's so many stories to tell with them, and I have some sort of connection with doing that.”

As the Roma-born artist dove back into her art, she began to incorporate a variety of media.

"It's been a bit of an experimental time for me as well, that's why they look so different,” she said.

"I started using different mediums, and this group of women started coming out. I would just start drawing, and that was the exciting part.

"I'd sit down at the easel and think 'Who am I going to meet today?'”

Ms Waldron said it was nearly impossible to choose her favourite from her exhibit, and that all of them meant something different to her.

"They have all been done at different stages of my art journey,” she said.

"It's a bit of a mirror of the friendships in my life, I have developed a lot of lovely friendships with a lot of women.

"I think there's a real uniqueness in female friendship, so that's how the name came.”

After sharing her art with her Facebook community, she began to culminate an exhibit, which is being displayed until March 31.

"The more I did it, the more I wanted to do it. I wanted to learn more about the face and the intricacies of it, and also the different mediums and how I could use them,” she said.

"I did around 100 faces all up. Some I really battled with, I would get frustrated but I was determined I would work through it.

"When I started the course, the tutor said 'Every painting must go through an ugly stage' and for me that really opened a door.”

Ms Waldron admits in the past she would have stopped or "chucked it out”, but her tutor inspired her to push back.

"I'd be quite amazed by what was happening as I kept working through it,” she said.

"That's been part of my journey as an artist.”

In the Company of Women is showing at the Walk of Art Gallery, Roma Community Arts Centre: 33-44 Hawthorne St.

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