2018 Margaret River Open Studios | Meet the artists at Happs Winery

Happs Winery is like a second studio for artists Colin Pratt and Susan Hood who will both be on hand at the winery during this year’s Margaret River Open Studios event.

From April 28 until May 13, open studios provides an opportunity for people to enter the work space of featured artists from Busselton to Augusta, to talk with them and learn more about their art.

It is the second year Pratt and Hood have featured in the event, with both artists working regularly at Happs Winery where they exhibit their art.

Hood said it was great for her to see last year how many people came to visit her personally during open studios.

“That is something I do not normally know because people come here for the wine or for the pottery, then come across me,” she said.

“Art is a bit solitary and artists love people to see their work.”

Hood is a nature lover and much of her work is based on the environment and animals, she loves being out in the bush and rescues injured animals.

She spends time researching her pieces before she begins painting and uses many photographs as a reference for her work.

“I do not try to work from a photo but use them as a reference so I can see how the feathers lay, I usually take a million photos of a bird before I start painting it.”

For Pratt, he said it was good so many people came to see the artists during open studios especially at Happs because people would get to see two-in-one venue.

“There are 130 artists featured this year, you can’t get around to see them all, here you get a double dose,” he said.

Pratt’s work is mostly based on buildings and he uses wax to create his pieces, a technique known as encaustic painting which creates a texture on the canvas.

He saw the technique being used in the UK 20 years ago and has been self taught since then.

“The big thing with encaustic is that you can manipulate it, change it and alter it, it is very forgiving and a really good medium to use.

“You can put your fingers all over it to feel the textures, you do not want to put your fingers on acrylics.

“It encompasses a lot of the skills you can use in other art, the only thing you cannot use is mixing it with acrylics.”

Pratt draws inspiration for his artwork through stories, which did not necessarily come from anywhere in particular.

“I do not have a particular direction, I see something that I think would be interesting, which could be natural or cultural forms. 

“I have a painting at home based on old growth forests. It is not so much about the forest but about the issue involved, there is always a story in every painting.”


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