THE sight of Jan Ferguson and her landscape art painted onto hand saws, circular disks and other artefacts of bygone bush life is a common one at the Chinchilla, Dalby and Jandowae markets.
Something less common than the sight of the Brigalow-artist is the knowledge Ms Ferguson is also a teacher, specialising in art therapy classes - a venture largely funded by her own art sales.
Working with students aged from as young as ten right through to people in their 90's, the art classes aren't about the end product - but the therapeutic process involved in creating art and independent expression, Ms Ferguson said.
"I've been doing it for years with people with disabilities and depression,” she said.
"I used to work with Illoura residents (in Chinchilla) and got a grant from QGC and once that ran out I kept going because there's a huge need (for art therapy) here.
"My aim is... to give them the confidence that they can do things.”
As an artist for the past 25 years, Ms Ferguson has become known for her unorthodox choice of 'canvas'.
Reclaiming once everyday household and farm items like stove-doors, washing machines from the turn of the century, copper washing basins and other objects left behind by the passage of time and progress to paint with her farm scenes.
"My big thing is it doesn't have to be a canvas. Most of them (artists) think a canvas is the only thing art is, whereas I think a canvas is the last thing (art) is,” she said.
It's a philosophy that's key to her art therapy lessons.
"To me, art is depicting emotion. The physical, what's around you. And the other word I'd use is enjoyment. Enjoyment in doing it and enjoyment in people looking at it.”
This weekend, in collaboration with her student artists from Dalby and Chinchilla, Ms Ferguson is showcasing all their work in a special exhibit.
"Our Voice Through Art is designed as a vehicle to display the abilities of the artists, allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings and giving them a means of relating to others through their creativity, thus giving them a voice that normally they may not have had,” she said.
"The actual creation of each piece of artwork also provides a form of art therapy for the aged and (people with disabilities), developing a sense of self-worth and increasing their confidence in their positive abilities rather than dwelling on the negatives associated with their various conditions.”
Our Voice Through Art opens at Gallery 107 in Dalby this Saturday at 2pm with light refreshments and the opportunity to meet the artists. The exhibit runs until February 25.
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