Ping Carlyon: Our Shining Stars

Feature image
Dylan, watercolour by Ping Carlyon, courtesy of the artist

Ping Carlyon: Our Shining Stars


A collection of new portraits, personal and club memorabilia as well as video interviews, capturing moments and telling the stories of children from our region and the importance of sport and other activities to our community.


Q&A with the Artist


What is your background?

I am born in Taiwan. Married to my husband and moved to Gladstone in 2007. My family are all very artistic. Mum used to take us to the park on the weekend for life drawing as our family activities. I was in a special art class for high school and had a bachelor’s degree for art education in university. During my university time, I developed my own watercolor style I called “ribbon.”

What other things have impacted how you see the world and create your works?

Art in Taiwan really care about the basic skill. To get into the art class for high school and university, we need to go through an art exam which included: charcoal, watercolour, Chinese traditional painting and Chinese brush calligraphy. As an artist grow up from that background. I do practise about the skill a lot. I do believe for a good artwork, the artist’s personal idea and the skill equally important.

The reason I do this exhibition is…I couldn’t do portrait very well. Portrait is my weakness in my skill. But the last few years I had been practised a lot. I went to portrait workshops of David Wells. I study other artist’s painting and nonstop practicing. I am still trying to develop my portrait skill. Not just the real looks but always have to bring out the personality of the model. And most important thing is, have my own painting style. I think this is the same spirit as all the kids who are in this exhibition. We all tried very hard and practiced very hard to be who we are. I hope the audience can see that.

I do enjoy doing art to express my feeling. That’s why most of my work is about my life or how I feel. Some people can use their words to describe their feeling. And I use my art to describe my feeling.

Do any of the works you’ve created relate to social or political issues?

I layout this exhibition by the time. This is my journey of my portrait skill. From ok to better, then trying to master it. As all the kids doing their sport, never stop practising and trying. This is the main message I want to send out from “Our Shining Stars”. Never stop trying to reach your goal. Couldn’t do it at the first time, then give it 10 times. If you are not satisfied after 10 times, give it 100 times or even more.

Who has been your biggest influence and why?

For portrait techniques is the Australian artist David Wells, I was lucky to go to two of his portrait workshops. what amazed me is, he is self-taught artist.

How have you developed your career and where do you want it to take you?

In the future, I will wish to do an exhibition about my ribbon. It is still my love.
I am pushing myself to go out of Gladstone region (my comfort zone). As entry art show in another place. I don’t plan a big career in art as my family always come first. But I know I will keep doing it.

How do you seek out your opportunities?

As a foreigner it is quite tricky to start. I did not plan anything, but I do know I love art and just keep painting and entering art show. After few Martin Hanson awards, very lucky I got recognised by few judges. Then during one of the conversations I had with Jo, I told I always want to do an exhibition. So, she put my name down. As the first-time solo exhibition, I do got lot of help from the art gallery. From how to set the themes, apply founding then display the show. I do appreciated everyone who help me to put this exhibition together.

What would be some advice you would give to new and emerging artists?

Patience... making art is a very lonely and long process. And it is very personal taste. One might like it but one might hate it. You only need to please yourself and stay true with your heart. And practise, practise, practise. Use your skill to show off your unique idea.


Ping Carlyon, recipient of The Inaugural Pamela Whitlock Memorial Acquisitive Award, Sponsored by Gladstone Regional Council, with her winning work Apparently I'm Chinese Taipei.

Image: MGR Photography



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