Tour Date: September 15-24, 2013
About the Artist:
Every Sunday of my 13th year I spent with Carmen Puls, an elderly Artist in the small Victorian town of Great Western (Australia)where I spent my childhood. On these Sundays, Carmen not only taught me how to paint in Acrylics, but also introduced me to famous Artists and their paintings through her extensive library of Art books. While attending these lessons I learnt the skills of observation, composition and the plein air approach and developed a love of art. On occasion I would copy a print of a painting by one of the old masters. It was certainly an incredible experience, when 22 years later I stood in front of the painting “The boyhood of Rayleigh” by Sir John E Millais at the Tate Galleryin London – one of the paintings I had copied on Sundays with Carmen. I only wished that Carmen were there with me.
After completing secondary school my path took me in a different direction and I completed a Degree in Mathematics and Graduate Diploma of Education, but the love of painting never left me. Shortly after completing my studies I visited an art exhibition and decided to follow my heart and become an Artist. My first love! I enrolled in art classes. I attended art classes and concentrated on drawing and oil painting 3 years. It was only after leaving these classes that I pursued watercolour painting seriously and this is when my true learning began. After years of trial and error, frustration and joy, copious amounts of reading of books and studying the great artists of the past and present, I finally began to see results. I was achieving what I was after in my painting, rather than just struggling with technique. Exhibiting, winning exhibitions and selling paintings all added to my confidence. Now after about 20 years of being a professional Artist I can not imagine doing anything else. I am glad to say that I am still learning and will be until the day I shuffle off this mortal coil.
One of the biggest turning points in my career was when I journeyed to the U.S.A. (1999) to specifically study two Artists whom I consider to be two of the best. I closely studied the works of John Singer Sargent at a Retrospective exhibition in Boston and had the fantastic opportunity to have a private viewing and to study his unframed works at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. Even though Sargent passed away in 1925, I consider him to be my greatest teacher.I also took the opportunity to study the works of Andrew Wyeth (a contrasting artist to Sargent) who has had an immense impact on my work, not only technically, but a l so from a philosophical point of view. I am indebted to these men, and since this visit I feel my work has changed and has headed in a new direction. In essence I feel my work is truer and freer than ever before. Today I spend my time painting, teaching watercolour painting, running overseas tours and exhibiting. I enter a number of selected competitions and have won many awards, the most prestigious being the highly coveted A.M.E Bale award. This exhibition is considered to be “Australia’s premiere exhibition of realist and figurative art”
Teaching watercolour painting is something I enjoy doing almost as much as painting. I have been teaching watercolour painting for many years and in the process have made many friends. My reasons for teaching watercolour painting and drawing are many. Friendship and the desire to impart my knowledge are just two. However one of the main reasons is that I strongly subscribe to John Ruskin’s view that “Everyone should learn to draw…” Ruskin told a Royal commission into drawing in 1857- “My efforts are directed not to making a carpenter an artist, but making him happier as a carpenter”. How apt this statement is, and I can tell you that much happiness and appreciation of life is gained from learning to paint or draw. In essence I teach painting to make people happier.
As an extension of my teaching I have written many articles for the Australian Artist magazine. If you are interested in readingany of my articles please contact the Australian Artist magazine for a list of the relevant issues. One of the most difficult questions I am often asked is “What kind of painting do you do?” In this world of compartmentalisation (as described by Scott Peck in his book “In search of Stones”), I consider myself to be in the Artistic sense, a paradox. I see myself as neither a traditional nor a contemporary painter, and yet I am both. I do not prescribe to any particular school of art – I paint what I paint, not because it fits into any category or school of painting, but simply because it is how I see, feel and wish to communicate. If I can raise the spirits and/or emotionally touch people, making their lives richer (as Sargent and Wyeth have for me) through my painting, then I am happy.
I hope you find enjoyment in viewing my works.
*Painters have priority, but non-artist partners (shared accommodations only) are welcome to come and enjoy the island a their own pace.