Rick Bardsley-Smith

R i c k   B a r d s l e y – S m i t h


Light, shade, patterns and texture hold a fascination for me. These attributes are part of our organic, random and often majestic natural world. By contrast, human existence and endeavour introduce the framework and rigor of built form created for survival, activity and culture. This has a beauty of its own. The high point is when we experience the light, shade, patterns and texture of the natural and the human world entwined together.

Rick Bardsley-Smith studied Town Planning at the University of New South Wales in the early 1970s, graduating in 1976. During this time, he enjoyed exposure to freehand drawing and graphic techniques. In particular, tutors such as Lorna Nimmo, John Santry and Brian Dunlop ignited his awareness of watercolour. His final year thesis focused on Visual Communication in Town Planning.

Between 1977 and 2016, Bardsley-Smith worked in the NSW public service, local government and the private sector. For eight years, he was employed at the NSW Department of Planning where a key component of his work related to illustrating various technical and guideline documents. In 1988 and 1989, he worked as an urban design planner at Sydney City Council and, subsequently, in the private sector. In 1990, together with an architect friend, he started a planning and design consultancy, which they operated until 2017. Throughout this part of his working life, drawing, illustrating and rendering always came to his desk.

Since 2018, Bardsley-Smith has painted full-time, preferring to work almost exclusively in watercolour.

His awards include first prize for watercolour in the Hunters Hill Art Prize, Randwick Art Society Annual Show and South Maroubra Art Show (2019); Royal Easter Show Watercolour Prize (2003); Second Prize for Watercolour, Royal Easter Show (2011) and Highly Commended, Camberwell Art Exhibition. He has been a finalist in the Sydney Morning Herald Art Prize, the Mosman Art Prize (2003) and the 2019 Australian Watercolour Muster.

Rick Bardsley-Smith was elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 2019. He is currently Vice President of Randwick Art Society.


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