I was asked what started me off painting. Well I didn’t paint much as a child. I had a pencil in my hand a lot though; Drawings of ladies in ball gowns featured in my drawing books. I was easy to entertain obviously, so I had coloured pencils for birthdays. I scribbled and doodled all the time.
I was briefly involved with an after school painting class, but don’t think I felt I was good enough, so gave it up, in those days girls were not encouraged to think of art as a career. Typing or nursing was my fate.
Little did I know one day I would go back to my first love and gain so much from it.
My interest really got serious when my children were growing up, I started painting very startling nudes, I had a life size one at the top of the stairs, the local minister was on a committee, with my husband, and often called to see us. His expression as he caught sight of my self-portrait was priceless!
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I tried to keep up some painting, and produced a couple I was happy with, but still was very much working in the dark. I had no lessons and no guidance, until I went on a painting weekend with my husband. He was trained for 7 years in graphic art so had a head start on me. My poor painting that weekend made me feel like giving up; but I got a book and some oil paints and tried again. I copied from the book and used that method until I gained confidence.
That year I actually sold a few, paintings of our garden, and sea scapes. We were both entering competitions in Melbourne. My husband was selling too; it was a good spell for both of us.
When we left Melbourne and became country dwellers, I had some time on my hands for a while. Folk art was popular so I had some lessons in that, eventually selling small painted frames, house nameplates and plant pots, in fact I painted anything that stood still, and took it to the fish and chip shop where it was sold for a few dollars.
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Since then I have joined a couple of art groups where we paint and help each other, one at the Learning Centre I attended for five years once a week. My friends in all the classes are an inspiration, I have watched some come in scared and hesitant and then saw them blossom to develop amazing talent and improve so much I am green with envy at the beauty they can create.
We run a small group in U3A (which is University of the Third age), but no exams are ever taken of course, we are just a group of older people who love painting. I think my style has changed over the last few years; my folksy painting has given way to a more restrained style. I make a lovely mess sometimes, am untidy and my brushes are not neat and clean as they should be, but what I lack in tidiness I make up for in sheer dedication, and if I am painting well, which is rare, I am in a world of my own, and it is a very happy place. What it gives me is a sense of achievement, a feeling of worth, great joy at the sharing of my work with others, and even feel it’s a bit like meditation, it calms the soul.
Do you love painting or other arts and crafts?
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