Local Artist Series // Loralee Newitt

Who are you and what do you create?
Hello, my name is Loralee I grew up in Tasmania and have slowly migrated following the sun to live on the Sunshine Coast. I’m an artist working predominantly in oil paint and dabbling in poetry. My art practice is inspired by the spaces that we need for survival, like the nooks of comfort, the spaces that are uncomfortable and demand expansion and the nostalgic reminiscent spaces. In this way my work creates connection between wellness and creation, luxury and necessity. My work is a fluid slippage of language and landscape, resulting in an abstract realm of familiarity.

What materials and techniques do you use?
I have a deep love for oil paint which began in my first years at art school in 2012, so I mainly work with oil on linen. However I’m an avid writer and have numerous journals on the go at one time, filled with writing and drawings to fuel my painting practice. My work is not abstract in the traditional abstract expressionist way, rather traces or suggestions of something familiar. There are impressions of landscapes, words and portraits within the marks I make but they’re more like echos than anything fixed.

What kind of inspirations go into your work?
Anything and everything, my journals are filled with overheard conversations, lines of poems or songs, photographs I’ve taken, dreams I’ve had, memories on the edge of being forgotten. Literature and music play a huge role in my work, I read and listen to audiobooks every spare second. There is not one source of inspiration its more the feeling of something that really inspires me. If it moves me in some way then it’ll show up somewhere in my work.

In what space do you like to create most?
I like to be alone. I don’t begin paintings with an idea of an outcome, its a more of a conversation between me and the work and honestly it feels like the work takes me on the journey not that other way around. So having space to move through the works is essential. Feeling conscious of other energies around me is distracting and fragments the flow of the work. I’m very fortunate to have a studio space in my home. I have a large balcony on the second story overlooking the national park and has views of the ocean. I’m so blessed by the fresh breeze and natural light.

What has been your favourite or most important work to date?
A small work I made earlier this year, “in your blanket of reassurance”. It was a work I sat with for months not being able to get over the hurdle to see what it wanted to be. It wasn’t until I let go of trying to make it something that it became clear to me. I poured a wash of sage green over the entire surface and it just had this glow to it. At the time I was mesmerised with my Nan’s handwriting in her letters to me and some of her letters came through, most obviously a big ‘R’ at the top. I didn’t even realise it’d done it until the following day. The ‘R’ was for Royce, my Pa who passed away just months after she sent me the letter. It felt reassuring, similar to the way he would make me feel. He was blind and so touch was extremely important to him, so when I would visit he would hold my hand the entire time. I felt this comfort and reassurance in the work, and so it become a memorial for him. That little painting taught me a lot.

To see more of Loralee’s work, head to her website or Instagram.