DRAGA GELT OAM
Artistic endeavour is an area that creates and opens a variety of paths. Artists are able to choose from amongst them to find one that is in harmony with their own dreams and that helps them to bring these dreams to fruition as the final result. Although a definite path doesn’t exist, it is experimentation with the new that is an eternal challenge. Of those that search and those who have made some artistic achievement, we can include Draga Gelt. She depicts, with classical realism, mountains of note and with impressionist inspiration we are given fleeting glimpses of countryside. She depicts expressions of existential dilemmas and symbolic images.
Draga is a versatile artist who unearths memories and develops these by using new techniques, infusing them with new knowledge and a different perspective.
Alenka Černelič Krošelj, Lecturer of Art History, Ethnologist and Cultural Anthropologist
DRAGA was born at Dobrova, near Ljubljana, Slovenia.
She completed Teachers College in Ljubljana, Certificate of Technology at RMIT, has attended artists’ workshops at Monash University and has studied realist painting with teachers Kevin Boucher and Michael Goff.
She attended scientific and technical drawing workshops, watercolour and pastel workshops at Monash University and Box Hill TAFE.
Employed as a Graphic Artist, as well as teaching Slovenian language, Draga is a cultural worker and animator, an author and a poet.
Exhibitions entered: Slovenian Associations – Melbourne; Slovenian Association Snežnik, Albury-Wodonga; Slovenian Association Planica, Springvale;
Slovenian Club Jadran, Diggers Rest; Slovenian Association Ivan Cankar, Geelong; Slovenian Association Canberra;Slovenian Religious and Cultural Centre Kew, Melbourne; Slovenian Mission Merrylands; Exhibition Bridge – Ljubljana; Sherbrook Art Gallery; Ringwood Rotary Club and Knox U3A Art Exhibition.
Solo Exhibition at Dobrova (near Ljubljana)
Draga received Acknowledgements from the Teachers College and ‘Highly Commended’ at the exhibition of Australian landscape painting exhibition at Sherbrook Art Gallery, Belgrave and Best pastel at the Exhibition Most – Bridge, Expressions of Togetherness in November 1997.
“I always loved to draw. In primary school the teacher gave me a set of six coloured pencils – what a gift! At home, in a family of a factory worker and of nine children, the purchase of coloured pencils was not possible. The gift was priceless to me!
At the Teachers College I was introduced to the History of Art and the world artists. The biggest impressions were made by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Rubens and especially the Impressionists: Monet, Degas and Slovenian Impressionists: Jama, Grohar and Slana.
I found Australian artists such as, Bunny and Heidelberg School Artists: Roberts, Streeton, McCubbin and especially Charles Conder, Arthur Boyd and Russell Drysdale most fascinating.
I started painting with oils in Australia, mainly landscapes and still life, some portraits – mostly Slovenian motifs.
But the Australian landscape has captured my imagination as it is wild, untouched and scorched, but has hidden softness that offers wonders, warmth and silence.
Later I experimented with ink and I love working with soft pastels with their unlimited gentleness.
I am still learning and time is teaching me to express and adopt different feelings and types of expression.
My teachers were realists and they encouraged the students similarly. But I was drawn by the feelings: to touch the inner contoured landscape of the mind – feelings of inner self, beauty, the wonder of life and dreams – expressions which painted the palette of emotions.
Art encourages us to paint silently, yet screaming at the same time, to express the feelings of beauty, wonder, disappointment and hope. Every person can perceive art differently.”