Colleen Werner

C o l l e e n   W e r n e r

Penguin Parade

For as long as I can remember, I have felt passionate about the natural world. This passion is reflected in the subjects of my watercolours. Rather than investigating broad panoramas, I prefer to engage in intimate studies of the natural world. My desire to explore and create this genre of work brought me on a journey from suburban Sydney to settle at Birdwood, in country New South Wales. My property is adjacent to Werrikimbee Wilderness, a world heritage listed area, which is a major source of inspiration.

Colleen Werner studied at Meadowbank Technical College prior to undertaking, from 1980 to 1982, a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts at City Art Institute, Sydney College of Advanced Education. During her student days, she began to express her profound interest in nature and current ecological issues through her art, spending numerous hours drawing at Taronga Zoo and the Australian Museum in Sydney. Eventually, she relocated from Sydney to Birdwood, west of Wauchope, New South Wales, where she operates a nursery, growing and propagating native plants, predominantly rainforest species, and cares for orphaned and injured fauna. Both of these activities have informed her art practice.

Werner exhibits regularly throughout Australia, as well as in South Korea, China, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and Germany. In 2018, her watercolour paintings were included in The Florilegium: The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens, UK, which opened in March and continued until September that year.

She has been a finalist in the Sceggs Westpac Art Prize; the Frank Saxby Prize; the Faber-Castell Drawing Prize; the Jacaranda Drawing Prize; three times in the Hutchins School Art Prize; the Waterhouse Natural History Prize, Museum of South Australia (2010, 2011) and the Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolour Biennial Exhibition in 2011. In 2006, she travelled to Busan, South Korea, where she represented the Australian Watercolour Institute at the opening of The Grand Festival of Asian Watercolour, an international biennial exhibitionin which she was an exhibitor in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. Werner was also awarded a residency at Bundanon, former property of artist Arthur Boyd, overlooking the Shoalhaven River, near Nowra, New South Wales.

Her work is represented in numerous public collections, including the Florilegium collection of the National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney; the Bundanon Trust Foundation; the New South Wales Arts Council; Port Macquarie Hastings Valley Council and Greater Taree Council, as well as in private collections in Canada, the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea and Japan.

Elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 1996, she is also a member of the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia, the Queensland Wildlife Art Society, the Botanical Art Society of Australia and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Florilegium Society.