Illawarra-based wildlife artist and Quest program participant Renata Bruynzeel has donated a breath-taking painting to adorn the walls of the Quest for Life Centre in Bundanoon NSW.
The pastel painting depicts a crackle of cockatoos gleefully flying in different directions and is fittingly titled Breaking Free.
Renata said she was inspired to donate the artwork after attending the Healing Your Life residential program, when she realised the Centre is a place where people can go to “break free” of destructive habits or ways of thinking and to learn about new and more positive ways to live their lives.
“Cockatoos can be destructive but they’re also so funny and cheeky, so that picture just feels uplifting. This painting is about breaking out and moving forward, which is something people are going to Quest for – breaking free of what they’ve been in,” said Renata, who attended the Healing Your Life residential program in July 2022 after a suggestion from a psychologist.
Renata, of Figtree, said she decided to donate the piece towards the end of her week-long stay at Quest after hearing Quest Founder and CEO Petrea King speak to her group of participants.
“I was just so amazed by hearing Petrea talk, she was so easy to listen to. I could take her words in so easily – 100 per cent – it really connected with me. I just thought, ‘I really want to have one of my artworks here,’ because I felt so connected to the place. I haven’t done anything like this before.
“It’s such a warm and friendly environment. All the people that work there and the people that come, everybody ends up bonding very quickly.
“I’ve been meditating pretty much twice a day since I went. It’s only been four weeks, but I can feel it making a change already.”
Renata’s stunning and lifelike pastel art depicts a range of wildlife, including marine life, African animals, and native Australian fauna.
“When I’m creating a drawing, I love to see animals in the wild, to see them in their environment and observe their behaviours.
“I’ve been drawing animals ever since I can remember. I’m not really interested in painting anything else. It’s just their life-force and their character and their eyes – the eyes are the most important part. I don’t get the same feeling from landscapes or anything else, they haven’t got the same energy that wildlife has.”
Renata visited the Quest Centre in August to visit Quest Founder and CEO Petrea King and the rest of the Quest team to hand deliver the artwork.
“Thank you Renata for gifting this beautiful painting to Quest,” Petrea said.
“We are delighted to hang Renata’s beautiful painting in the Reception area so that everyone who comes to Quest can feel inspired and uplifted by her gorgeous cockatoos, especially as we have large flocks of them that often visit our grounds.”
It’s not just the team at Quest that loves Renata’s art. One of her recent works depicting a platypus was recently selected as a finalist for the Kennedy Prize 2022, which will see the painting displayed in an Adelaide gallery in September.
The prize, offered by the Kennedy Arts Foundation, is based and exhibited in Adelaide but open to Australian artists nationwide, and is awarded to works that embody, comment on, or celebrate beauty.
Prints of Renata’s artwork are available for sale on her website www.whaleart.com.au, and she is available for selected commission pieces.
The Healing Your Life residential program is designed for people living with depression, grief, loss, anxiety, chronic fatigue, and burnout and is facilitated by highly experienced and professional teams of psychologists, counsellors and therapists who educate, encourage and support participants to achieve their goals.