Wayne French: An Artist Profile

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Wayne French: An Artist Profile

The Green Room Gallery

Take a wander about The Promenade and you’ll be sure to see some of Wayne’s vivid seascapes and vibrant, surreal artworks brightening up the spaces available for lease.

Much of his work is also on display at The Greenroom Gallery.

Below, Wayne tells us more about his art and inspiration.

Wayne, you’ve been an artist all your life but made it your true focus 10 years ago. How did the decision to paint full-time come about?

I have been professionally painting for a decade now. Prior to this, I owned and operated a timber flooring business for 21 years here on the Coffs Coast. I painted on and off for many years after work and simply entered art competitions. I honed my skills until I was ready and at a level where I could come out and sell my work – works good enough for galleries to represent me. In my view, too many artists come out too early.

How long have you resided here?

I have lived on the Northern Beaches at Arrawarra for around 30 years now but am originally a Sydneysider from The Shire.

Nature plays a big part in your work. Why do you most love about the ocean? And which are your favourite spots on the Coffs Coast?

Waves have fascinated me since childhood. I’ve always loved watching their formations. I could lie on one of our many headlands and watch them for hours. I started surfing in 1969 and have been hooked ever since. The ocean is a kind of life force for me – it’s just such a healthy lifestyle to be part of. Everything about the ocean intrigues me… the colours, the smells, the sea creatures and the energy of it all combined is just so mind, body and soul healing. It’s hard to pick my best spots on the Coffs Coast as they are all pretty special, that’s for sure.

Tell me about the Greenroom Gallery.

The Greenroom Gallery came about as a joint vision with my wife Charlotte. I had my paintings in galleries and I really needed a showroom and home for my artwork. Charlotte also wanted an outlet for her passion in sustainable clothing fashion. We found a nice spot here on the Promenade and built a niche little market for what we offer, next to the beautiful creek. Together we’ve created something that was a first in Australia; combining original artwork and a sustainable certified fair trade fashion boutique. We’ve been here just over five years now and are going strong. I sell my originals and also a select stock of reproductions to both locals and tourists. We’re proud to have sold clothes and artworks to people in over 15 different countries to date. We also have an online system.

Do you have a favourite painting or is that like choosing a favourite child?

Yes, it is like choosing a favourite child as so much of myself goes into each painting but I have trained myself to let go of them. It’s a passion but I’m also mindful of it being a business too.

You teach as well. How do you guide or instruct people who don’t naturally have artistic flare?

Teaching someone who thinks they have no natural flare is easy once they understand the different brush shapes and how to apply the paint. It’s just practical approach – one on one, each step at a time. The difficulty is having the vision and concept without the practical know-how. We all look at a finished piece and say “Wow’, I could never do that”- just as you look at any project in its completion. Sure, some people are certainly more gifted than others but you can always learn more, it just depends on how much you want it.

You also act as a mentor and work with a local disability group?

Yes I worked with several great adults with disabilities associated with Accnet21 here in Coffs as a mentor/support worker. One of the tasks I have taken on is teaching, painting and curating exhibitions for my art group. Eventually, I will be doing workshops and teaching my skills to others. I’m presently in the middle of doing an illustrated tuition feature for Australian Creative Artists and Artists Palette magazines which is exciting.

I loved learning from your website that you donate artwork to organisations that protect marine life. Tell me more…

I have been involved with organisations that have auctioned off reproductions of mine to raise money, such as Sea Sheppard and many others. I get many requests and do what I can with the ones that I feel represent the ocean and marine creatures best. I have so much respect for such organisations and their passion to protect our oceans.

For more information and to view examples of Wayne’s work go to http://www.artbywaynefrench.com.au/

Or better still, come down to The Promenade to view the originals…

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