Vivid & rich colour: The art of Louise Vadasz

Louise Vadasz is an artist based both in North Adelaide and Port Willunga. She predominately depicts nature in her paintings and is known for her use of vivid and rich colour.

Louise Vadasz is an artist based both in North Adelaide and Port Willunga. A nature based painter, her renderings of plants, flowers and lanscapes are rich and vivid with her use of bright colours; heavy impasto with oil painted on transparent linen.

Louise shares about growing up in the 70s on the Fleurieu Peninsula, about art school and how being a mum of three small kids is a hard slog as an artist. She now has all the time in the world to devote to her painting and she’s happy, and not the least bit regretful of her choices.

Can you tell me about your life and what led you to art?

I have always been creative, drawing most of my life. It was in my family, we were all creative, nobody ever asked me what I wanted to do, that was what I was gonna do. It was an arty family.

I went to tafe, which was probably where I learned a lot of drawing and then I transferred to South Australia School of Art. Art school’s quite challenging. I mean, nine to five, five days a week. So you’re fully immersed and it’s great. Printmaking was my major but I also took photography, ceramics and more.

I did mosaics for about 15 years. It’s just so hard. And that’s why I stopped and started painting. Everything has their life cycle. I’m really glad I stopped doing it, I’m much happier painting. 

How has growing up in the Fleurieu Peninsula shaped you as an artist?

I had a lot of freedom as a child growing up in the country. I am still particularly enamoured with Port Willunga and spend a lot of time there. I live in North Adelaide now, but we’re in Port Willunga all summer and every weekend.

We moved around a bit as I was growing up. But where we ended up the longest we had no neighbours and a couple of acres, a few animals and that sort of thing. Plenty of room. That’s where I lived the longest. It was very isolating. So you had a lot of time to create stuff. I did a lot of drawing.

When you grow up down there it means a lot to you. The hills and the beach. We went everywhere, all over the place. Swimming, picnicking and up to the slate quarry. It was a pretty good time.

In those days you were left to your own devices. You were out on your bike or whatever, for the whole day. No one asked you, what are you doing? It was pure freedom.

How has your art progressed over the years?

Over 50 I now have time to devote to painting. My three children are all grown up and living interstate. There’s no rushing in the car and picking up kids all over the place anymore.

I’m doing a lot more now than I was able to do when the kids were younger. You’ve got that head space to create and think about fun things that you could do. I’m doing a lot more now than I ever used to.

It’s more of a full-time job now. It’s like everything I ever wanted when I went to art school. It just took a while to happen. You try to push through and make things still, but it’s not the same when you’ve got children. It’s a hard slog to get through. And nobody really gets it, as an artist your career is on hold and you don’t get taken seriously at all as a woman.

But now I can get up in the morning, go into my studio, still in my pyjamas, and start painting. I don’t have to go and take anyone anywhere. It’s pretty self-indulgent.

What keeps you painting and creating art?

My motivation is that I can hopefully do a painting that is better than the last one. It’s always nature based, plants, flowers, landscapes; what is around me.

Also colour is a huge motivator – vivid, rich, thick colour gives me the greatest pleasure. 

I think my love of colour has always been there. Probably from the seventies, when everything was really bright and Marimekko and all of that was coming in. And from being a printmaker as well, mixing a lot of colour. I do heighten the colour and I like it really saturated with pigment. I love the colour because it’s a joy. So it’s expressive, joy comes out. I mainly use bright colours, so that’s joy for me. When I’m painting I’m really happy. And that’s how it comes out.

Can you tell us about any current or upcoming exhibitions?

My work can currently be found at Art Images Norwood, The Fleurieu Arthouse McLaren Vale and Terrace Floors Parkside. 

Last year I participated in an exhibition, Loves in my Landscape, in the South Coast Regional Arts Center.

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