Lisa Wheeler says her artworks are inspired by her environment and as she sifts through the works before us it is easy to see how it captures her attention. Dotted among the collection are prints of sunlight dappled wooden sheds, etchings of the lines travelling through paperbark trees and the drawings of the worn hands of a mother. The artwork spread out is a reflection, she says, of her artistic journey.
With the often difficult medium of etching her true love, Lisa says the fluidity of the process allows her the time to capture the image whilst also the flexibility to print when she is able. With the closest etching press two hours away in the city of Dubbo the fortitude of love has been tried and tested and found true with her passion continuing to grow despite distance.
â€œI like to draw, I find itâ€™s a quite sensual medium and etching really captures the drawing. I like the intricacy of it and itâ€™s a work that Iâ€™ve always noticed, Iâ€™ve always been drawn to it. Actually doing it, itâ€™s not as difficult as it sounds, but you certainly learn to look at the world in a different way.”
As she gestures to each of the works they are studies of nature and naturally derived architecture even, she says, for the image of the harbour study in Sydney she was drawn to the industrial and the dark grey of the iron.
â€œItâ€™s what Iâ€™m comfortable with. Itâ€™s what Iâ€™ve seen. Iâ€™ve played in sheds, Iâ€™ve worked in sheds. My family has always been on the land and itâ€™s just a connection that I have with all those things. Itâ€™s nothing pretty but thereâ€™s something about corrugated iron, thereâ€™s something about industry that Iâ€™m really attracted to. Itâ€™s just something thatâ€™s inside me.”
And sheâ€™s not too precious about it either. With many of her works created out in the field, the images derived of plates being dragged on sand beneath water of the Castlereagh River or deepened bark are part of her newest collection.
But the process is not without its difficulty. Part of the etching process is that the plates have to be created backwards before being pressed to paper but with a refined relaxed attitude Lisa says her subject matter has fluidity and often the plates that she has felt have been â€˜ruinedâ€™ frequently turn out to be the best ones.
â€œWith etching Iâ€™m constantly surprised by what actually happens when I create a work because sometimes it can be quite accidental. A line can appear, a markâ€™s made and when itâ€™s printed it looks fabulous! You might think itâ€™s a mistake but in the end itâ€™s not.â€
With the works as fluid as the artist, Lisaâ€™s ability to capture everyday images and turn them into something unique is part of her evolving gift.
â€œCreating these works, being an artist, itâ€™s just who I am at the moment and itâ€™s what I do. Iâ€™ve got to this grand age that Iâ€™ve accepted that and Iâ€™m just going to go with it.â€