Artist Marta Lett celebrates her Celtic heritage by creating patterned and detailed works that combine her ancestry with the flora and fauna of her Australian home. See more by visiting her website.
I am a painter, calligrapher and designer. My signature works feature Celtic art intertwined with the plants, animals and insects of Australia. These pieces are an expression of my identity as a woman born in Australia with parents of mixed Celtic heritage.
My artwork is often inspired by ideas that emerge through teaching others calligraphy and Celtic art, by entering pieces for themed exhibitions and by collaborations with artists working in different media. My pieces on the yellow-tailed black cockatoos started with a shared sighting of a very large and noisy flock in trees overhanging a major east coast roadway.
Recently, I have also been inspired to interpret my experiences of places when travelling, as seen here in my homage to Antoni Gaudi’s Serpentine Bench (Parc Guell) in Barcelona.
I enjoy the challenge of working on commission pieces. They often require me to be inventive and explore new media. This commission piece is one of my favourites, written and painted on kangaroo vellum using inks, watercolour gouache and gold leaf.
With all of my artwork I start by drawing on paper before transferring my ideas onto smooth watercolour paper or canvas to then paint and add calligraphy.
I favour using watercolour gouache for calligraphy and painting on paper. I embellish many of my works with gilding; either painting with Sakura gold powders or applying 23ct gold leaf onto raised surface areas.
I enjoy experimenting with mixed media to add layers of colour and texture; sometimes for blended effects, sometimes to define a layer of lettering overlaying colourful or patterned backgrounds.
I use media such as acrylics, watercolours, pigments, metal leaf, dyes, pyrography, acid etching, glass paints and printmaking. I mainly work on smooth watercolour papers, though I also like to work on canvas, other fabrics, vellum and parchment skins, glass, gourds and wood.
I am always working on several projects at a time. Currently I am experimenting with various media and tools on gourds in preparation for a collaborative project with a local printmaker. The piece I am showing here is a ‘vase’ made from a large bottle gourd. I have adapted one of my Aussie-Celtic Waratah designs and drawn it onto the gourd with a pencil. I then used a pyro-engraving tool to burn the design into the gourd, blocking in the geometric part of the design with pyrography. I have painted the Waratahs with acrylic paints and sealed the paint with diluted PVA glue. Near the neck of the gourd, I gilded the three triangular sections with 23ct gold leaf.
Each year I design my own Christmas card. I draw, then ink in the cover design, compose and pen the words for the insert in calligraphy, then print and hand colour/gild part of the front artwork. Here is my card for Christmas 2015.