Artist in Residence
St Mary’s College is delighted to be hosting Catherine Parker this month as its first Artist in Residence.
A painter and mixed media artist, Catherine’s work celebrates the Australian urban and natural landscape. Repurposed boards are her canvas of choice, giving these otherwise unwanted materials a second, more colourful life.
An initiative of Art Teacher Emelia Franz, the Artist in Residence program is funded by the St Mary’s College P&F Association.
While at St Mary’s, Catherine is working with students in the classrooms and supporting them in their artistic journey. Outside the classroom, Catherine is creating new art from a dedicated space in the College Art Gallery, overlooking bushland and the Bremer River.
Students benefit from her guidance, and are also able to watch her creative practice unfold. For Catherine, the Artist in Residence program combines two of her joys – painting and teaching.
“I feel privileged and grateful to have such a beautiful space to work out of here at the College,” Catherine said. “The river is a constant source of inspiration and it is always changing. Being in a new space, out of my usual environment, helps me to create new art with different perspectives.”
Inspired by more than the landscape around her, Catherine says the students of St Mary’s have also informed her practice.
“I have learnt so much from the students here. It is really special to be surrounded by these young women,” she said. “They have a wonderful balance of joy and inquiry – they aren’t afraid to ask the big questions and challenge things.”
Holding a Bachelor of Education in Visual Arts, Catherine has been teaching for close to 20 years. She has an understanding of the art curriculum, and is able to give students advice that is related to the teaching syllabus with the perspective of a practicing artist.
Catherine has a long association with St Mary’s, and has been visiting the College to host workshops and mentor students for more than 10 years. This, though, is the first time she has been Artist in Residence and been able to immerse herself in the community.
“I enjoy the dynamic of being in schools, and have always loved coming to St Mary’s. It is lovely to see students I first worked with in Year 7 or 8 who our now Seniors and how far their art has developed,” Catherine said.
“This Artist in Residence program is, for me, the perfect segue between making art and being in class. I am able to teach and create all in the one place.”
“Everyone has been very welcoming and I feel very supported in my work here. There is a real community feel and the students often come and talk to me,” Catherine said.
Catherine is based in Toowoomba, and divides her time between her home there and her winter studio on Magnetic island. She travels regularly to India and hopes to visit there again soon. Her work is underpinned by an inherent belief in the beauty of nature.
You can see more of Catherine’s work here.
Pictured: Linsey Christoffel, Grace Jen, Holly Hammond & Catherine Parker