PLEIN AIR: Jennifer Rigby and Johnny Groome at his Art Exhibition opening night, which attracted attention from a crowd of locals and travellers.
PLEIN AIR: Jennifer Rigby and Johnny Groome at his Art Exhibition opening night, which attracted attention from a crowd of locals and travellers. Felicity Ripper

Gayndah gets behind a travelling artist

GAYNDAH turned out to support a travelling artist on Friday, enjoying the artworks of his new exhibition Chasing the Light at Gayndah Art Gallery.

Originally from New Zealand, Johnny Groome has spent the past few months capturing the beauty of the Burnett in his oil paintings.

He was impressed with how many locals and travellers came to support his work.

"It's made a big difference to have that support because I was lacking a bit of direction and painting is just my default so I thought as long I was painting pictures that was a step forward,” he said.

"I got into a place where I was just painting, just floating along, and I knew I needed to get to exhibiting so for the community to help me bring this together was great.”

When Groome first inquired about holding an exhibition at the gallery there were no openings for months, but with a little persistence from a new friend things fell into place.

Jennifer Rigby, a travelling artist herself, said her and Groome stopped by the gallery on a walk through town on a Sunday.

"I spoke to Mary the volunteer here and just mentioned in passing that it was a shame Johnny couldn't get a spot at the gallery,” she said.

"She then told us that actually someone had just pulled out and she got out her book and pointed to the free spot.”

The pair jumped at the opportunity and had little more than a week to organise his artworks and get them hung in the gallery.

"I know he has had a number of exhibitions but I hope this is a turning point for him, with talent like his it has to be supported,” Rigby said.

"His absorption into the natural world is almost a seamless blending.”

Groome hadn't planned out his travels around Australia but when he came across the North Burnett he knew it was a place he wanted to spend some time, and things worked out in his favour.

"There's a nice river with fish and the scenery is lovely,” Mr Groome.

"This is probably the nicest place I have come across so far on my travels.”


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