Award-winning watercolour artist James White officially opened his exhibition of works recently at the Gunnedah Bicentennial Creative Arts Gallery.

By his own admission, the exhibition titled ‘Memories’ is a collection that was just “sitting around” but one that holds special meaning for the former Boggabri schoolboy.

“This is all about the memories,” Mr White told gathered guests.

“I’ve taken the idea of what I remember growing up.”

Raised on the Boggabri family farm, James’ early art was influenced by traditional painter Fred Roberts, according to his biography.

He first won the Currabubula Art Show’s watercolour prize in 1964 before achieving the feat another seven times in successive years as well as champion painting honours.

James has had solo exhibitions of watercolours at the New England Regional Art Museum, Weswal Gallery in Tamworth, the Moree Gallery, Narrabri Art Gallery and Gallery 126 in Armidale.

He worked as a visual arts teacher at The Armidale School for almost two decades until his retirement in 2013.

A member of the Australian Watercolour Institute since 1991, his works have hung in its annual Sydney

In 2020 his work was also hung in the Taiwan Watercolour Exhibition.

Back at the Gunnedah exhibition, James described how his many flower arrangement paintings were spurred by his love of gardening.

The shearing shed depictions, many of which are from around the Armidale region, are often derived from his days working as a wool classer.

“The painting process is one that evolves over time,” he said.

“Quite often one painting will influence another.”

Gunnedah Shire Council cultural precinct team leader Lauren Mackley has been fascinated by James’ ability to capture light within his paintings and transport people into the art.

“You can smell the aroma of freshly baked scones, the fresh cut wattle on the kitchen bench, the sun cascading into the shearing shed onto the lanolin of the fleece in the afternoon … James’ nostalgic Australian scenes ring true, they are warm,” Ms Mackley said.

She also drew attention to the “whimsical play” of a gnome in each of James’ artworks which he described as a form of signature for his paintings.

One of James’ paintings was auctioned on the night and raised $550.

To order photos from this page click here