Friendly festival is a favourite with Shirley

Eumundi artist Shirley Strano could enter up to three categories in the Mary Valley Art Festival on June 20-23.

She has become a regular competitor at the annual festival and is drawn to the friendly three-day event in Imbil, where she said you can mingle with fellow artists, organisers and the viewing public.

“Of course, everyone loves the soiree on the Sunday, when the People’s Choice award is presented,” Mrs Strano said.

She believes the more art there is, the better, and that community-run festivals such as this one in the Mary Valley raise the standard of art generally, by giving artists other artists to compete against and compare with.

Fans of her artworks will recognise her penchant for linocutting blades, pen and ink, watercolour, pastel and beautiful paper.

When work is going well, she says she is “in the moment”, with no concept of time passing.

“Some people are compelled to garden, some to knit. I am compelled to make art.

“I use subjects that I get a visual reaction to and then visual imagination takes over.”

Mrs Strano strives to make strong drawings and linocuts of the Mary Valley, plants of the Sunshine Coast and the hinterland with its ancient volcanic plugs and rhythmical landscapes.

“I use subjects here because this is where I live,” she said.

She prefers to draw from her own observations, as she calls it “en plein-air”.

“A photograph does not see what I see,” she said.

She describes how decisions are made about composition in the course of a drawing, and this is where the art is – it is about interpretation, feelings and reaction to the subject.

“The volcanic plugs Cooroora, Mt Cooroy and Tibrogargan have been here for an Australian length of time. They are so worn down their bones show.”

Some of Mrs Strano’s art is included in permanent corporate and regional gallery collections and private collections in the USA, Australia and Japan.

She has been a Print Council of Australia Commissioned Artist and an exchange artist in Japan and is a graduate of the Queensland College of Art.

Opening night of the Mary Valley Art Festival is June 20, from 6pm at the Imbil Public Hall. Viewing runs from June 21-23, 10am-3pm daily.

The festival is a Mary Valley ArtsLink event. Visit the website or email for more information.

Shirley Strano - Mt Eerwah 2013

Shirley Strano – Mt Eerwah 2013

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