A NATURAL ARTIST: Caz McDougall prepares for her first solo exhibition
A NATURAL ARTIST: Caz McDougall prepares for her first solo exhibition "Earth".

Artist's love of 'Earth' leads to exhibition

ARTIST Caz McDougall's life-long love of art and the environment will come together when she presents her first solo exhibition "Earth" in November.

Several years in the making, Earth, self-funded by the 72-year-old Tweed Coast-based pensioner, will run from Monday 5 November to 19that the Kirra Cultural and Community Centre.

"I started drawing when I was four and I started painting in oils when I was probably 19," she said.

"I've done art all my life and as an artist I used various mediums but my chosen medium was stone. I was a stone carver, I studied under Mitzy McCall at the Sculpture Centre in Sydney and I onto marble, got very sick with a disease and couldn't do sculpture any more. So I started to work in paint basically I have to do art, it's my passion. I breathe art, it's my barometer to being happy."

A regular at Dune Care, nature has also always been a passion for Caz, so it's not surprising that she would choose to draw and paint trees for this exhibition which will include 12 works - including a huge drawing of an ancient four-storey high tree on her son's property at Tyalgum..

"I grew up at Bondi until I was eight and then we moved to Nelson's Point and that's where I learned to love trees well before that I loved Botanical Gardens I actually to this day know certain trees there, mum use to laugh about it," she explained.

"Trees have always been a special place for me - the Moreton Bays in Bradley Cove - I use take dirt bottles up with me and if any of the boys tried to climb up I was equipped. No-one was going to have a go at me in a tree."

"I have done a lot of trees in my life, I've never had an exhibition where I actually concentrated on the ancient trees and forests but I've done a lot of landscapes. Landscape is my thing whether it's fantasy landscape, whether it's abstract, I've done a lot of abstracts based for Spinifex Dreaming based on my Dune Care experiences. But trees have been a constant."

She said this exhibition included three paintings honouring the sculptor she was and the painter she is now.

"It was my desire to honour my past life as a sculptor and wanting to also honour the ancient trees and forests and their placed in my life," she said.

"And when I started particularly when I was doing the big fig, it was like I was sculpting again. I was standing, carving it out with my pencil, that's why it ended up being the biggest drawing I've ever done."

The drawing took her four months, with her friends on facebook watching it unfold as she documented and posted each stage of it's production, allowing her friends and family to share the mistakes, trials and triumphs of the journey.

And while it was a lot of work, this Doctor Who mad, Caz isn't about to stop now - she is an artist - has always been and will always be.

"I would say I'm Caz McDougall and I'm an artist -even when I worked as an executive secretary in a very high powered job at the insurance council in Sydney, I still knew I was an artist," Caz said passionately.

"I was doing another job but really the essence of me was my art. I'd get home, tired as, but I'd still put a couple of hours into painting because that's my identity, who I am.

"There is so much beautiful art to do - so many things in my head. It's like all the tabs are running on my computer. I have another two ideas - one I'm working on - a series of forests, really big, black and white and then I want to do a kids whimsical tree tales."

Caz will hold an official launch event for her exhibition on 15 November, 7pm-10pm NSW time, food and drink available free on the night.

"The Doonies (Dunecare members) are all bringing lots of lovely food they're all great cooks)."

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