I am in my seventies; an insulin-dependent diabetic. I am retired and live in Gosnells, Western Australia with my wife Jenny, our second son (who is Down Syndrome) and four rescue cats. We have two grandchildren from our eldest son.
I am a keen motorcyclist, owning several machines, one of which has a sidecar attached. I ride regularly with mates and a social group. Both Jenny and I have ridden widely in W.A. and other States and therefore I have toured parts of every state. In all I have made seven motorcycle trips across the Nullarbor, with another planned for April 2021.
I also push-cycle with a group of friends once a week and practise Yoga twice a week.
My love of painting was inherited from my mother – she loved horses and painted them beautifully, moving on to many varied subjects until macular degeneration cruelly took her sight. (I did not, unfortunately, inherit her skill in painting horses).
I started painting in the 1970s. I am self-taught and (although I have a different style) I was inspired and encouraged by the renowned landscapist, Henry McLaughlin, who was at that time a work colleague.
In those days Henry and I sold paintings on weekends at open-air art exhibitions; mainly the Kalamunda and Hyde Park art shows, but I could never match Henry’s sartorial elegance; he was always the consumate artiste; resplendent in cravat and tweed cap.
In 1978 I changed careers and we moved onto a farm at Jacup, near Jerramungup, which is on the south coast between Albany and Ravensthorpe. Our farm was bounded by the Fitzgerald River National Park, a unique and very scenic area that includes Point Ann, now a whale-watching centre.
I continued painting in my spare time on the farm and Jenny became an expert framer. I exhibited in the annual local show’s art section and won Popular Choice for three consecutive years. (The Shire purchased the winning entry each year to hang in the Council chambers).
At Jerramungup I was approached with a request to teach oil painting night classes as a Tafe Extension Course. I enjoyed teaching this course, passing on techniques I had developed over the years, as well as the basics of perspective, composition, colour theory and toning. I collected a good following of local painters, who I hope have continued on with their painting.
I also completed several commissions from local farmers, including an internal mural painted on a staircase landing that overlooked a large living area, The mural was painted on a plaster wall and measured five metres long and one and a half metres high. I spent a week painting from scaffolding, using quality oil-based house paints mixed with artists oils. I recently learned that the farm had been sold and when the new owners decided to renovate and were considering removing the mural, the Shire objected on heritage grounds as the scene was of a view of Bremer Bay that no longer exists. I don’t know the outcome but would like to think my mural is still there.
Through the 1980s I exhibited at the Montemarte Gallery, which was upstairs in Piccadilly Arcade in Perth, and I sold many large paintings of rural scenes through the gallery.
We moved back to Perth in the late 90s and I didn’t paint for 22 years as I pursued a public service career until I retired in 2017.
Then, in 2020, COVID-19 came along and, being mainly confined to house and home, I decided to start painting again. I am continuing to paint as I thoroughly enjoy spending a day in my makeshift ‘studio’ in the patio. I paint land and seascapes and especially enjoy scenes where I am able to create a feeling of depth and distance.
Often, when on a motorcycle ride, I will come across a paintable scene but, unable to stop the group, I note the location and drive back later with my motorcycle and sidecar to take photos and make sketches. I paint from these, preferring local scenes gathered this way, but I also draw from many photos taken on my trips.
I now also paint with acrylics, which are fast-drying like the alkyds but I find the colours more intense and a little easier to mix and blend. I am enjoying painting in my latter years. It is especially satisfying and gives me great pleasure when other people also appreciate my work.