Stella Stephenson doesn’t consider herself to be any different to any other artist.
The 71 year-old from the Sunshine Coast is an accomplished artist and is known for producing oil painting and etchings.
Using techniques learned while completing an Associate Diploma of Art in the 1980s, Stella is known for producing works that depict her surrounds in the south-east of Queensland.
“It’s a beautiful place and I enjoy getting out and walking around and experiencing it all,” Stella says.
“I’ll take my camera along and photograph the scenery and then come home and start drawing and painting from there. It’s all the techniques I learned when studying art,” she says.
While the basis of her artistic endeavours are tried and true methods, Stella does have some different processes as well given that she is legally blind as a result of macular degeneration.
Rather than letting the condition inhibit her involvement in the art world, it was her diagnosis that spurred Stella to devote even more time to her passion.
“I’ve always loved art and when I was told I had macular degeneration in 1981 I decided that wasn’t going to stop me. That’s when I decided to go and study art,” she says.
“Life did get a bit busy after that but I’ve been making works ever since then as much as I can. I’ve sold pieces and won some awards as well which has been pleasing. What I’d really like to work towards is having my own exhibition one day.”
Following her diagnosis, Stella’s vision deteriorated until she was left legally blind in 1999. To overcome the challenges associated with that, Stella has turned to a range of vision aids to help her keep painting and etching.
“I’ve got an Aladdin Reading Machine [a form of desktop magnifier] that I use for my mail and that sort of thing but it’s also helped with my art. It’s great for my etchings, which have a lot of fine detail.
“I’ve also been lucky to have a really great optometrist who has provided me with a range of different glasses. I’ve got different sets that I might use to when I’ve got a piece of work right under my nose, or when I move back to 25 centimetres, a meter or more.
“The lenses have also been designed so that they direct the light certain spots in my eyes to make the most of my remaining vision.”
While she’s not quite ready for her first solo exhibition, Stella has submitted three works, all of which depict local Sunshine Coast landmarks, for Vision Australia’s Artistic Vision Exhibition in Maroochydore this Friday.
“The Weyba Creek Footbridge” oil painting depicts a busy walkway over at Noosaville that is popular with locals and tourists. “Late Afternoon, Glasshouse Mountains” and “Mt. Coonawirin II” depict the Glasshouse Ranges and surrounding farmland.
“I placed works in the exhibition last year which and I think it’s a great opportunity provided by Vision Australia.”
The Artistic Vision Exhibition will be held on Friday, August 3 from 5pm-9pm at Vision Australia’s Maroochydore office at 19 George St, Maroochydore. Call (07) 5409 2200 or (07) 5409 2203 for more details.