Artistic pack

• Artist Megan Anderson loves doggies.

THREE sisters, a daughter, lots of wine, the festive season and some paintbrushes – what could possibly go wrong?

Well, plenty, but Megan Anderson says they are all getting on well ahead of their family art exhibition at the Doghouse Gallery in South Fremantle.

Featuring artworks by sisters Bronwen Newbury, Anna and Megan Anderson, and Bronwen’s daughter Laura, the Shady Booze Hounds exhibition is a true family affair.

“All of us have exhibited solo, so it made sense to get together for a group show and celebrate the genes bestowed by our creative parents and grandparents (farmers, but creative ones),” Megan says.

The “shady” will be represented by some lovely paintings by Bronwen, showcasing the light in the forests, beaches and inlets of southwest WA, while Anna takes us into the urban streets to explore the shadows flitting across the Aussie burbs. Both artists live in Albany.

Wine buff and hospitality geek, Laura, provides the “booze” angle with her hand-coloured collagraphs of tables cluttered with wine bottles. A former Freo girl, she now lives in Albany, not far from her mum and aunty Anna.

And of course the “hounds” is all Megan, who specialises in wire-frame art of pooches and “paintings” of mutts using her Apple pencil and Procreate software. She’s a regular at the Fremantle dog beach, where she has befriended many “unsuspecting models”.

“I really like doing dachshunds, which is ironic because I’m known for giving my dogs unusually long legs!” Megan says. 

“Dachshunds have so much character and I love the way their little legs bow out. They think they’re big dogs, and I like that spunk.”

Megan says she is a big fan of UK artist Sally Muir, who creates a lot of wire-haired hounds, and Barbara Franc, who makes dogs and other animals out of reclaimed fabric. She’s also influenced by some of the old masters: “Picasso’s line drawings are a big influence on my wire work. I love the simplicity, and the suggestion of character with just a few strokes. Having the faith to do less rather than more is the challenge, but I think that’s what makes the wire pieces effective.”

Megan’s “paintings” of dogs are playful, wispy and full of life. She’s embraced digital technology and rarely goes back to the traditional easel these days.

“I started painting on a tablet using Procreate when I was travelling back in 2012; it was great because I needed no art supplies or a place to make a mess,” she says.

“I really enjoyed the process of layering in a digital way, and the ‘eraser’ function is a godsend! Making fine art prints (instead of hand painted originals) was a great way to make my art accessible and affordable.”

With Christmas looming and an exhibition to organise, stress levels could easily reach fever pitch, but Megan says she’s getting on well with her siblings ahead of opening night.

“We all do different things, but when our work is hanging together you can see similarities in our world view, our aesthetic and our sense of humour (particularly in the titles!),” Megan says.

“The only tension was dragging Anna to the finish line. And deciding on which wine to serve at the opening – some of us have champagne taste!”

Shady Booze Hounds is at The Doghouse Gallery, 253 South Terrace, South Fremantle, from December 2-11. 


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