A couple of years ago, FLY read on one of her Australian fine arts Facebook groups about a stunning new exhibition at the Zig Zag Gallery in Kalamunda, FLY’s old home town in Western Australia. The show featured the most spectacular gumtree blossoms painted on over-sized canvases and they were jaw-droppingly beautiful. The artist was STACY GARDOLL and FLY knew she had found her “spirit artist”. When FLY went home in 2022, it was just prior to learning about the gallery otherwise a personal visit would have happened but at least FLY can share Stacy’s story and her art, which is available for international shipping should you also be wowed by the large originals or prints. Stacy kindly responded to FLY’s interview request and she shared insights into her work and her life and career inspirations….Stacy, what first motivated you to pick up a paintbrush and start creating?  I’ve been painting in different forms since high school, and it was there that I first started. As a student, I went on a week-long art camp to Rottnest (a beautiful little island off the WA coast famous for its quokkas), which was organized by the Art Gallery of Western Australia, where we rode our bikes and stopped to paint what we saw. It really changed the way I saw landscapes, and I mixed colours. It was also the first time I’d spent time with other like-minded people who loved art as much as I did! You have such a bold and distinctive style – did this come naturally or were you inspired by other artists?  The boldness probably comes from my years working as a theatre set designer and painter. It was an aspect of the designing process which I particularly enjoyed, and over time my designs took on a very painterly aesthetic.  As for the painting style itself, it evolved over time. Theatre scenery is obviously seen from a distance, under stage lighting, so painted elements need to be very textured and high-contrast in order to not look washed out or flat. This has definitely informed the way that I paint now – I much prefer high-contrast, saturated colours. This way I can paint what I see, but heighten different elements to highlight and set the botanicals apart from the background. Combined with the large scale of most of my work, it can also give a sense of drama. (below, Stacy with her Cinderella village scenery) Your botanical “portraits” are spectacular – have flowers always appealed to you as subjects for your canvases? Your landscapes are also vibrant and full of energy – which do you prefer?  At the moment, I’m loving botanicals, but I’m certainly not locked in to any genre. I used to paint botanicals in my teens, and have always loved painting and drawing. I remember painting some close-up botanicals way back then, but thinking they weren’t possibly going to lead anywhere. Funny how life turns out!

I will always love landscapes though, and still look at the world through “frames”, much like photographers must do. It’s a way of seeing which is always with you, once you learn it. I grew up in Lesmurdie back in the 60s & 70s, on the crest of a hill overlooking the city of Perth. Back then it was considered “the bush” and our ½ acre block was full of wild flowers and tall trees. Are you lucky to live surrounded by gumtrees and wild indigenous plants or do you contend with close neighbours and “artificial” gardens?  That would have been amazing growing up in such an untamed environment – I would have loved that! I grew up in Swanbourne, so was always drawn to the coast, and particularly loved being near the water. The beach still feels like “coming home” to some degree.
Where we’re living now is considered the foothills- so we really have the best of the bush at our doorstep, whilst also being close to the city when we want to be. We have a regular block, which I’m in the process of replanting with lots of Australian natives – I’m really looking forward to being able to paint WA native species from my own backyard.

Can Canadian or US art lovers purchase your work and have shipped over? (obviously purchaser would pay for shipping).  Absolutely – original paintings can be sent framed or unframed, and paper or canvas prints can easily be sent in a tube. Do you have any upcoming shows and if so, where and when?  Yes, I’m having my very own Open Studio next month, on April 28th, which is really exciting.  I participate in the Mundaring Hills Open Studios event every October, so I know what to expect, but it is really great to be having my own Open Studio event. It’s a wonderful way for visitors to view my art, and talk to me in my relaxed home environment. It’s a lovely chance to talk about the process and to show people my workspace, as well as the finished pieces.
I’m also participating in a group exhibition in September, which will be at the Moores Building, in Fremantle. There are 9 botanical and still life artists involved, including myself- and we all have thoroughly different styles and approaches. It will be called “Perfectly Still.”Stacy, thank you so much for chatting with FLY and I can assure you, FLY will be a fan for life!  Some of your work shows the giant dinosaur-like cranes in Fremantle – something FLY witnessed herself and had one of those ooo-aaah moments driving by. Love these pieces…
If you want to learn more about this talented Aussie artist, please visit Stacy’s website and follow her on Instagram.    IG: @stacygardollart