Wendy Sharpe, one of Australia's most accomplished artists, will open this year's River of Art Festival and the festival's inaugural exhibition, River of Dreams, at the Basil Sellers Exhibition Centre (the BAS) on Friday, May 17 at 6.30pm.
Wendy has won the Archibald Prize (Diana of Erskinville), the Portia Geach Award (twice), the Sulman Prize and has been a finalist in the Archibald and Sulman multiple times.
Credited with over 50 solo exhibitions and artist residencies (including in Antarctica), these are just some of her many achievements.
"My work is based on drawing and imagination, made from intuition and experience," Wendy said.
"For me it's all about creating narrative. I watch people and wonder what they are thinking about and what lives they lead. Then I paint it."
Wendy is fortunate to live and work in Sydney and Paris. Her most recent exhibition at Philip Bacon Galleries in Brisbane featured works from the Western Front WW1 (Wendy is an official Australian war artist) and works from her series, Paris Stories.
The performing arts is an area of great interest. She has produced stunning works with commissions by the Australian Ballet and the Australian Opera, worked with burlesque performers and been artist in residence with Circus Oz.
Other commissions include the enormous, lively murals that span the Olympic pool at the Cook and Phillip Park Aquatic Centre in Sydney.
Life for an artist can be tough, but Wendy is successful enough to also be able to devote time to charity work.
"In Seeking Humanity, a collaboration with The Asylum Seekers Centre, Sydney, I drew 39 portraits of refugees and asylum seekers to create positive public awareness of the many challenges they face," she said.
Soon Wendy will travel to Ethiopia with the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation.
"I'll be painting and drawing non-stop and bringing my work back here to auction for the foundation," she said.
All are welcome to this free event to kick off this year's program of festival events.
You can also meet Wendy at Artist in Conversation at The River Restaurant in Moruya on Sunday, 19 May
The River will be hosting a three course dinner at which Wendy will talk about her career and work.
Bookings can be made by ringing The River on 4474 5505.
The full festival program is now available on the River of Art Festival website www.riverofART.com.au.
River of Art is funded by the NSW Government through Destination NSW and the Eurobodalla Shire Council.