Resident Stories
27 October 2021
Creative Influence: Talented Residents

There are many hidden talents amongst Hometown Australia’s residents and it seems a passion for creative outlets is one of them. We discover some of the local residents who express their creative sides through art, craftsmanship and poetry.

How did you become involved in woodwork?

My wife and I were living in Brisbane at the time, and I was recovering from cancer. I needed to find a hobby that would allow me to focus on something other than my illness. By chance I heard of a local wood-crafting shed where beginners were welcomed. I became involved and enjoyed learning and being mentored by peers who have since become friends. After some time, my wife and I decided to set up a stall at local markets. We loved engaging with people who shared a love of wood. When we moved to the Banksia Waters Community finding a new Woodcrafters’ Shed was simple. So now we are close to family, close to beautiful beaches and I am still able to follow my passion. We have been living in Banksia Waters for almost five years and I still enjoy creating commissioned pieces at the Woodwork Crafters Shed nearby.

What inspires you?

Many things ring true for me in doing this work. It is a really wonderful feeling to be able to create something special with my own hands. It is affirming especially when you see the joy in others’ eyes as you show them what you have created by hand. The thing we have most enjoyed is listening to individuals’ stories and memories of woodwork. It is a great way to connect with people! Wood is a great analogy for life… it is never perfect, it often needs some sanding and shaping and care, but the beauty is inherently within. Recently, I have been working with scrap wood. It amazes me that I can create something of such beauty from leftover scraps.

What projects are you currently working on?

Since joining the Banksia Waters Community we decided to organise a Creatives’ Fair each year to celebrate and appreciate the extent of talented residents’ skills in our midst. It’s a very energetic gathering with a real buzz. Most recently we introduced what’s called a Repair Café which is an internationally recognised initiative. This encourages residents to bring things to be repaired, restored or re-purposed rather than just adding things to landfill. Once again, these activities are invitations to build community and support one another. All in all, life is full and satisfying.

When did you first become involved in art?

As a child I was a massive scribbler and enjoyed exploring art during school. When I left school, I stopped art altogether and it wasn’t until 2013 that I had the urge to start painting and drawing again.

What is your artistic style?

I like to be diverse in my art, I don’t stick to one theme or style. To me art is a creative outlet that I enjoy very much, and I like to explore the different techniques by using oils, charcoal and acrylic paints. My inspiration comes from nature, photos and pictures that I then paint. These can be anything from animals, landscapes and human portraits. My animal portraits of pets are everyone’s favourites!

Can you tell me a little bit about the piece you submitted to the Cobb Haven Art Competition?

I had joined a local art class to develop my skills in painting portraits. This particular piece was actually the last portrait I created in the class. We were learning different techniques and were given 10 pictures to choose from and then focus on one feature of that picture. The portrait titled ‘Wisdom of Man” is done in charcoal with black and white acrylic paint. The piece standing at 56x86cms (22×33.8”) framed, is one that I am very proud of.

How long have you been creating art?

I have been painting for about 15 years now. It started when I was thinking about retirement and how I was going to spend my time, so I decided to take art classes and I’m still going!

What inspires you?

I take enjoyment from being able to express myself artistically through my art and I find I do this best through painting my bathing girls. I find their costumes fascinating. My daughters have many of my bathing girls hanging in their homes and often they will send me a picture of a bathing girl and ask me to paint it for them. At the moment I am painting flowers for something different. A little while ago I painted some abstract style fashion ladies with hats, but I always seem to find myself going back to painting my bathing girls. In terms of materials, I started with acrylic paint but then I explored oils for almost 12 years and now for some unknown reason I am back to painting with acrylic – perhaps it’s to do with less cleaning up!

Can you tell me about your art submission that won the Ironbark Art Competition?

The painting that won the prize was of a bathing girl. This particular piece was of a life saver sitting up on their chair with white togs and with an emerald green background. The choice of the background really makes the white stand out and become quite a striking piece.

Can you tell me a little bit about your journey with writing?

I discovered a passion for writing Australian bush poetry when I was living on a sheep property at Stanthorpe 20 years ago and it has continued ever since. In 2013 and 2014, I had both an e-book and hard copy print of my book titled ‘Aussie Tails and Aussie Males and one or two other things’ and I am currently working on a second book. I have also had reasonable success over the years with my work published widely in magazines, periodicals and on a few websites around the world. My work also features on many Australian Brumby supporting pages, as part of an advocate campaign to protect our brumbies. Currently, I run the writing workshop for the Australia Bush Poets Association (ABPA Group) and have been for the past six years. For the past eight years, I have run the Facebook page called Australian Rhyming Poets.

What inspires you?

Having lived on a sheep property at Stanthorpe for many years, writing has combined my love of the country, animals and it has helped relieve a lot of the pressure from living through close to five years of drought, which was a really difficult time. Other things that inspire my writing are life, injustice, and cruelty to animals. I am a passionate advocate for animals, especially our Aussie horses and dogs. They have no voice but ours and if my words can touch someone’s heart, make them rethink their actions, or just draw attention to a situation that needs to be changed then I am proud to be able to do so.

Could you please share one of your favourite poems?

This poem was written at the time I had to give away my connection to Stanthorpe. The stress of the drought eventually saw my relationship come to an end, my health impacted, and the property sold. Some of my dogs remains buried on the land, along with a piece of my heart.

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