It’s one of Western Australia’s oldest towns. Vast countryside, wide open spaces, dusty roads and if you’re lucky enough, you might spot a few wildflowers growing in the bush. It’s Gingin Western Australia and it’s the home and creative source of inspiration for abstract artist, Kerry Munns (@km_art.life).
A country girl at heart, when Kerry isn’t painting the beauties of the Australian bush, she’s hosting workshops on her property. Whether it’s painting with nature or teaching mixed media, Kerry’s on a mission to prove that everyone, no matter their age or skill level, can create something magical.
How did your journey to creativity unfold?
My creative life started as a young girl. I was brought up in a musical family in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. I learned how to sew, embroider, knit, crochet, play piano and sing. We had no TV in our home, so my life was filled with plenty of creating time!
You capture lots of native Aussie flora and fauna in your works, what do you love most about the bush?
The native bush to me, feels like home. Its natural beauty and wonder of surviving throughout our harsh and hot summers. Then bursting into colour, with the most magnificent floral creations, with thousands of varieties. It never ceases to amaze. I love taking thousands of photos, every wildflower season, which fills my inspiration tank for the next 12 months.
You also host workshops, what do you teach in these?
I run a variety of different painting workshops which are designed with no age barrier or ability in mind. My youngest student was only 18 months old, right up to my oldest student being a grand lady of 94 years old! On my property, I run a camping ground where I also run plein air painting workshops down by the river. I also host a ‘painting with nature’ workshop, where everyone uses only items found in nature to paint with, (no brushes or fingers). In other workshops, I teach mixed media, acrylics, acrylic impasto with a palette knife, and have also touched on chalk pastels and watercolour.
What’s a medium that you love and one that’s more of a challenge?
My favourite medium would be acrylic impasto. I love creating texture with my palette knife and using everyday items like screws, hair combs, bank cards, bubble wrap and anything else I can get my hands on, for mark making and scratching in details.
My most challenging medium would be watercolours! I find it more difficult creating the look I’m chasing and mixing the colours I’m wanting to achieve.
How do you steer a project that isn’t working?
When my painting is at the ‘ugly” stage, I’ll walk away, make myself a cup of coffee, stand back and look at it from a distance. Or look at it through my camera lens, which magically shows me more about my composition! I take it all in, then try to attack it from another angle. Sometimes it just takes adding more layers, or even a different medium, to get me back on track!
Have your creative influences changed as you’ve matured as an artist?
My creative influences come from children’s art, the Australian bush and countryside. I’ve always been inspired by ‘happy art,’ colourful art and naive style art. I don’t think I’ve grown up yet and perhaps will NEVER be mature! :)
You have six sons! Has your family enjoyed being creative alongside you?
Each one of my six sons has chosen to be creative at some stage in their life -- mostly choosing to play guitar, piano, drums or even the banjo! There have been many a theatre art show and even signs of talent in the visual arts! My eldest son has chosen a career as a musician and is kept very busy with gigs, as well as teaching instruments and song writing in the Perth music scene. Another of my sons, has blown us away with his natural raw talent, by teaching himself to play piano, guitar, and song writing. My wish for them all, is to allow themselves time throughout their lives to fulfil their creative outlet.
What does a Sunday afternoon look like for you?
Since working full time as an artist, I’ll occasionally be teaching an art workshop. I’ve also started running a self-sufficient camping ground on my property. So, a typical Sunday will be making sure my campers have enough firewood for their campfires during winter. During the summer, I close down the camping sites because of the flies, heat, and bushfire danger. A summer Sunday afternoon, is relaxing with family around the pool, or going out to catch up with my kids and grandkids in Perth somewhere over a lunch or coffee.
What’s your favourite Mont Marte product?
I have used many Mont Marte products over the past 4-5 years and still do! My favourite would be the Twistable Colours, with their creamy lipstick-like consistency. A close second would be the Mont Marte Watercolour Half Pan set. I also regularly use Mont Marte palette knives, acrylic brush sets, paint pens, gesso and impasto.
What’s next? What are you most excited about for the future?
What I’m most looking forward to, are many more days of good health and safety for my family, some more grandchildren thrown into the mix would be an added bonus too!
I’m looking forward to my very first, solo exhibition in April-May 2023 and building up a digital profile for surface pattern design. Lastly and by no means least, I look forward to spreading my love of art and creativeness, far and wide, to people of all ages and abilities, and to continue teaching the healing qualities it evokes.
We hope that you feel inspired by Western Australian artist, Kerry Munns’ creative journey. Give acrylic or impasto a try for yourself here. Read more about Kerry's art, or check out more of our featured artists here.
As always, we love seeing what you create! Share your work with us with the #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook.