My paintings are of what I see and know. They are an invitation to the viewer to contemplate a scene that might also be familiar to them. In a manner, they are a celebration of the ordinary.
An interest in giving an artistic expression to the everyday began early in life.
In the early 1960s things were progressing well on the farm. My parents decided to build a new family home, so we all moved from the “old house” to the “new house” – a fine example of contemporary double brick and tile from the drawing board of local builder Mario Calabrese.
On one of my subsequent wanderings about the place after the family moved in, I discovered left-over tins of cream coloured oil-based paint. Perhaps I was overcome with the fumes or perhaps it was a primaeval urge to make a mark to record my presence, but, whatever the impulse, I was overwhelmed with the notion that Mario’s masterpiece could do with some artistic improvement.
But what could be the subject matter? For this I trawled through my experience of life on our piece of the world.
I knew that we lived in a place called WA. The “West Australian” was delivered to the milk can on a post (letterbox) down by the front gate. The Warren Times was our local paper. The family car had a number plate with a “WA” prefix (for Warren District) as did the truck. My musings were revealing a meaningful pattern. Here was my inspiration. A symbol of my loyalty to family and place.
So, on the tenth course of bricks the new family home soon had four “WA”s in a row meticulously applied in cream paint. I stepped back and, with that feeling of satisfaction that is familiar to anyone who has completed a great work, I thought, in a five-year old’s equivalent, “Yep nailed it!”
Unfortunately, reviews were very harsh. Some days passed and I had pretty much forgotten about my endeavours until I heard a kerfuffle outside and was soon being grilled by my father about whether I knew anything about “THIS!”
As far as I know my masterpiece is still on the side of the house. No amount of scrubbing could get it off. Perhaps one day it may need conserving as an example of my early work.
I am now in my fifth decade as a resident of Fremantle and look to it for inspiration.
Viewers of my current paintings will note the possibly spooky suggestion of an earlier motif in the form of the gloriously colourful and striking Wallenius Willhelmsen ships.
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