Wendy Sharpe champions walking

Wendy Sharpe champions walking

Cherishes inner city walking

With a career of over 45 solo exhibitions, artist Wendy Sharpe is perhaps best known in Sydney for her Archibald Prize winning self-portrait, Diana of Erskineville. And for her Olympic-sized murals of Annette Kellerman at Cook + Phillip Park pool. She walks almost every day from her home in Erskineville to her studio.

"I know I'm not the type of person to get up early and go out striding for the sake of it! But if I have a purpose, even if it's just to go and buy some milk, then I will definitely go. Going to the studio is something I want to do, I always feel like going because it's such a great space and because I enjoy the walk," Wendy says.

Wendy's walk became so important that she had an exhibition of work all about it: "I painted myself walking through the streets of Erskineville, with the imaginary things I was thinking about painting as I walked amongst the houses.

"I love that time, in-between home and studio. I'm on automatic pilot, I know where I'm going and I can just go off into an organising dream world. I walk down little interesting back streets, which really is a pleasure. I like the fact that the architecture and the buildings are so varied. There are little pixie houses, terraced houses, all sorts of different styles." 

Now she gets inspiration from walking in Paris too, where she has a second home: "It's designed for walking. Parisians don't use cars because the public transport is great and everything you need is in walking distance in your local neighbourhood. It's really nice because it's all about community and supporting local businesses."

Wendy's next exhibition in Sydney will be on the theme of circus in September 2016. But it's not just her art that benefits from her walks. Wendy sees the positives for her health too, which is why she's keen to encourage more people in the city to use walking as their mode of transport.

"Activity makes you feel better. If you're not someone who wants to get up and go for a walk, then set yourself a little task and instead of driving, walk there. It really is good for you."

Wendy Sharpe is a City of Sydney Walking Ambassador.

Last updated: Wednesday, 15 June 2016