Proud Dubbo-born artist Mirree Louise Bayliss was only 17 when her career kicked off, but she has had several hurdles to overcome before she would reach success.
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Now, more than 20 years later, she is running her own business and showcasing her artistry to a worldwide audience.
"My career in art started when I was just 17, studying mainstream Fine and Visual Arts whilst also working in large retail companies," she said.
Miss Bayliss paints one meter long colourful contemporary Aboriginal pictures using natural materials including red dirt, ash, pigments and charcoal and although she had a love and passion for her Aboriginal heritage and art work, the career didn't come easy to her.
"When I first started painting I received a lot of negative criticism. It has been very challenging because of my white appearance, as you can imagine, I am the palest one in my family.
"I come from Wiradjuri country, I was born in Dubbo.
"My Aboriginal heritage comes from my father who grew up on a Reserve in Bourke called "Paka-Tank" but soon after the floods and droughts hit, diminishing their food supplies, they moved to Dubbo."
Miss Baylis said she, like so many, was drawn in by those around her that lead her in ways which negatively impacted her through parties, drug use and suicide.
"Most of us don't stop to question something when peer pressure prevails, let alone have the courage to speak up.
"After seeing how others had reacted to some of these topics and researching the links between these issues and the healing art provided for myself, I started looking for a better way that I could wholeheartedly encourage others to heal and inspire by being a major positive role model," she said.
"The connection to my Dads country and creating art with natural materials, whilst also mixing my own colours, enabled me to have a connection to the country that allowed me to heal from my teenage years, giving me reasons to live, hope, and a passion to make a difference in the world for others that surrounded me.
"I reconcile my passion for Colourful Contemporary Aboriginal Art with a determination to live consciously to bring about more positive change for community I live in and those that surround me.
"My inspiration comes from living life to the fullest and taking the time out to really connect with nature. I love to paint nature and the Australian wildlife using the bright colours to express my feelings and deep connection to nature. I like the viewer to connect deeply with the experience of my paintings, viewing them from another level away from the ordinary mundane day-to-day life, to create a movement. I believe life should be about having fun and experiencing all the things that bring you the most happiness.
"I also believe my paintings should bring the viewer a unique experience that creates energy, feeling and movement; this to me is the most important in creating a experience for my all my viewers to appreciate.
"I took up Art in 1996 to leave a destructive life behind, I begun as a Fine Pen Artist and over the years I developed my style in painting. I found painting to be a more expressive medium, but always go back to sketching for my preliminary plans and ideas for future paintings.
"Although I've been painting for a very long time now, I find I'm always learning something new with my Art, whether it be about the subject I'm painting at the time or an idea I'm thinking how to execute. Forming a massive part of my Art is the inspiration I draw from my past, this has greatly contributed to the development of myself as an established Artist and person in general.
"I take my life and the universal content of my paintings very seriously. Whilst I am always on the lookout for new concepts for my paintings, I am open to learning new experiences to growth as I allow my instincts to guide me."
Ms Bayliss said she encourages aspiring artists to 'really go for it'.
"Trust and truly believe in yourself and your instincts," she said.
"From my experience as an Artist, Painting can be similar to a sea or river, diving into that deep pool of emotion to allow something beautiful to emerge. Allow the rhythm and energy to flow and don't let the mind get in the way of it's subtle movement. If no-one is supporting you and you want to do Art then just keep doing it and block out all the rest of the noise no matter what anyone says, that is the key to getting anywhere in life, especially to do with your Art.
"Start from somewhere and then just keep going, step after step. But you have to trust and really listen to your instincts."
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