Retrospective

Two professional artists turned up to ‘The Listening Table’ this week. As you might expect, all of us were interested in their work. They themselves would be happy to talk (if they had photos of their work with them) and we would all like to listen (and learn). So next week we decided to deviate from our usual non-thematic ‘go with the flow’ approach; we’ve agreed to begin our conversation by each of the group talking about one painting meaningful to them.

What could I share? Alas, any pictures I have of my work over the years are not in any one neat folder on my laptop – if I bothered to photograph them at all!

The first painting I found on a hard drive at the beginning of my search this morning was one I painted for a fellow Year 11 High School student as a birthday present. His father was a prominent Churches of Christ minister and he reflected his father’s faith. That would have been about 1961!

I used to do this kind of thing – paint something that reflected my admiration for a person, or write a poem about the qualities I admired in them, and give as birthday presents. It was the ‘thought that counts’ kind of thing and had little to do with any skill or claim to expertise on my part.

Looking back now, a memory of the brief interview I had for my enrolment at High School has become quite poignant. ‘I would like to study art’, I asserted. Glancing at my Primary School record, she retorted, ‘You will study two languages’ – meaning, you will be going into the ‘A’ stream, where there is no time for such trivialities. Such was the pragmatic post-war- rebuilding-culture at the time – not unlike our ‘skilled migration’ program today, where you seem to be most valued as an economic-growth building block.

Little wonder that at University, in between studying Chemistry (the subject I was ‘best at’ according to my school grades) I would wander off to look at nearby art galleries. I had little idea about what it was all about, but I was drawn to it.

That has been a thread in my life – the spare-time amateur (lover) of art in all its forms.

So my search for pictures of my paintings has begun and here is find number one: ‘Jesus turns to face Jerusalem’.

Actually, I’m pretty impressed! ‘Facing the challenges of the future’. What do you think?

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