By Derek Schlennstedt
Cailie Coney is a prolific painter.
At every opportunity the 31-year-old will use her pastels, paintbrushes and gel pens to create vibrant and colourful images.
Every Monday she travels from Warburton to Monbulk to attend her art classes at Monbulk Open Door Community Church, and despite being born with Down Syndrome, Cailie has shown her ability as first-rate artist.
Since primary school Cailie has been interested in all forms of the arts, including music and dance, but it was art that Cailie truly excelled in.
For her first exhibition, she will be presenting her work on the walls at Monbulk Community Church.
Teacher Yvonne Picot has taught Cailie for six years and said she was an inspiration to all the students who attended her class ‘Explore Art’ at the Monbulk Community Church.
“I take the group Explore Art and I encourage my students to find their own abilities.”
“Some work with pastel and some with acrylic paint, other works with water-based pencils or watercolours.
“Cailie has worked with all of them but the latest she is into is the gel pen, she has an incredibly good eye for colour,” Yvonne said.
“She’s very committed, and she’s an inspiration for our group as she always does her homework and is always drawing or painting.”
As a young adult, Cailie was interviewed and accepted into the Arts Project Australia, which she attended for two years.
The Arts Project Australia supports artists with an intellectual disability, promoting their work and advocating for their inclusion in contemporary art practice and dialogue.
This exhibition will be Cailie’s first and Yvonne invites everyone to visit Monbulk Community Church and see the artworks which include bright tones and colours.
Cailie’s mum, Margaret, an artist herself, said that Cailie had improved since joining the art classes in Monbulk and that she had created her own style which included vivid and bright colours.
“Since joining the exploring art group, Cailie has found her own style,” Margaret said.
“She’s currently doing a roadscape with tall buildings and a bright focal point of the sun down at the end of the road.”
“I always loved art too, but I was quite used to old-fashioned artistry and didn’t use much colour – Cailie however taught me the importance of using bright colours.”
The exhibition opens on Monday 29 May and can be viewed every Monday between 2-4pm.