Trudy Rice specialises in solar plate etching and currently works and lives in Melbourne. Her colourful, layered works celebrate the beauty of the natural world and seek to embody the intricate variations and vibrancy of the Australian environment. Rice’s poetic interpretation of her surroundings is saturated in her work and her artistic approach. I spoke to Trudy this week about an exciting new body of work delivered and being featured in the gallery this week.

YOUR NEW SERIES OF WORK SEES A RETURNED FOCUS ON THE AUSTRALIAN BUSH, WHAT CAPTURES YOUR INTEREST ABOUT CERTAIN ENVIRONMENTS?

After my last series OCEANUS, which was about the sea and its wonderful myriad of creatures, I decided to return to the bush. I visit the Victorian Otway Ranges often and most of my inspiration derives from there. The sea and bush meet and I often move from one subject matter to the other.

NATURE IS THE RECURRING MOTIF OF YOUR WORK, IS THERE AN UNDERPINNING IDEOLOGY TO THIS?

A love of nature and the environment are my main focus; I feel passionate about preserving its beauty and capturing it in my work.

DOES THIS IDEOLOGY MATERIALIZE IN YOUR PRINT MAKING METHODS?

I use solar plate etching for the very purpose of helping to protect and preserve the environment. This uses the sun and water to etch a plate rather than acid, which can damage our very sensitive and fragile planet. I am always working towards minimum wastage, re-using my etched plates over and over again; this also gives me the opportunity to experiment and push my imagery to its bounds.

WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH WHEN CREATING NEW WORK?

TR: When I start drawing my images, much of what is drawn depends on the time of year. For instance, the dragonfly’s eggs often lie dormant for up to four years. It just so happened that the weather was right for the eggs to hatch when my son found a perfectly preserved dragonfly. As I started drawing, the dragonfly moved and I realised it must have hatched. Similarly, the flowers of the banksia are only in season at certain times of the year then they are a dried seedpod ready to cast out and create a new tree.

Once I have a series of drawings, each is made into a solar plate. I use colour to guide a lot regarding how and where on the paper they will be placed; twenty sheets of paper are often being worked on at the same time, giving a sense of the series as a whole.

I am looking forward to pushing this subject matter even further.

HOW HAS YOUR PRINTING TECHNIQUE DEVELOPED WITHIN YOUR UPCOMING SERIES?

I’ve started to work in a larger format, however I find this very challenging indeed. Working with larger solar plates, handling them, inking and printing them can become unwieldy. I do, however, like the fact that it is stretching my creative bounds and this is a test for my abilities and knowledge of how to put the works together.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK TO SOMEBODY WHO HAD NEVER SEEN IT?

My work encapsulates our natural world, full of colour, vibrancy and magical layers. I’m attempting to enfold the viewer in a garden of beautiful colour, light and joy.