When did you start to paint?
I started painting very young…at six years of age, or perhaps younger. I took it up, however, in my early 30’s.
Did you have lessons?
Yes!, at first with Eric Tonkin at Warrnambool, then under Shirley Bourne at the Vic Arts and Malvern Artists Society. Also, I was often on the phone to Bill Dargie for advice etc. (Ed: This is Sir William Dargie, eight time Archibald Prize winner).
Where do you get your inspiration?
Old Masters would have me spell bound, like ‘Rembrandt’, Constable, Turner, Gainsborough.…so many from the 1700’s – 1800’s. But light would stir my inspiration – always….that dramatic light. People move me and colour too!
Does living in the country make it more difficult to market your work?
To market your work is really hard, but word of mouth helps. I guess living in the country is harder, but then at the end of the day it balances out.
How often do you have exhibitions?
I don’t have shows much. It doesn’t seem to be as important these days.
I had a huge show in August and Barry Jones (Former Federal Minister for Science) unveiled the show. About 300 people turned up on the night. We unveiled portraits of Geoff Handbury (brother-in-law to Rupert Murdoch), Teddy Barker (much loved local identity of Hamilton) and Jim Mannon (another local Hamilton identity) and the Dr Barry Jones portrait (that I painted 18 years ago, which the public saw for the first time).
Do artists ever retire?
No, never! Artists always paint, if it isn’t possible for medical reasons they still have the emotions close by…always.
Any advice for people wanting to paint in their ‘second career’/ retirement?
Go for it!! To paint is wonderful. We all can’t be Rembrandts, and even Rembrandt probably didn’t believe he was so special either. So paint! Life is short, enjoy the chance to express your feelings on canvas, paper or whatever.
It will reward you always. And be proud of your self for trying. At least you are doing it….that is all that matters!!
Photo: Hamilton Spectator
Sandra and Former Federal Science Minister Dr Barry Jones