Autobiography

I was born in Melbourne the cultural capital of Australia on the longest day of the year 21st December. My mother tells me that I began painting while I was still in the cot. “Strange landscapes”, she thought, using my fingers and hands and a burnt umber colour! To be honest I do not remember.

I do remember however all through childhood as being very fond of drawing and painting and always my parents and other relatives would say complimentary things…so that I got the idea that I was somehow special in that way.

My teachers at school were also very encouraging as were my classmates…so after a while I almost took it for granted. I was the artist. No doubt this is the experience of many artists and  many too who eventually do not become artists…yet it is worth thinking about, as the early influences to which one is exposed  have a huge effect on one’s development.

Of course though, this brought challenges, for example the headmaster saying to me ”…artist, can you make a mural for the school dance? Or can you design a float for the Lord Mayors parade?” There were expectations that making pictures was easy, which most certainly is not the case.

Later on, when I was nearing leaving school age the vocation of artist was not on the list of possibilities envisioned for me by my parents or teachers.

“There is no money in it”...and “you only make a name for yourself when you are dead”. Initially I accepted their “wisdom”, however it was not long before I realised that it really is worth pursuing ones dreams even if there is “no money in it”.

I had begun studies in business to please my father however my heart was restless…this was in the seventies, a  time of great change in society…the gay laws were being repealed, the hippies and the “cultural revolution”, drugs sex and rock n roll, women’s liberation, large numbers of people were beginning to travel to places like India in search of a Guru or cheap drugs, the beginning of terrorist atrocities like plane hijackings…much of what we take as normal now was new then…it was at this time that I went on many adventures into the Australian Outback, hitch-hiking from Melbourne to Perth to Darwin to Thursday Island…soon after these trips I adopted the Bohemian Life of a painter.

I met people from many different walks of life and it is these random or chance meetings that helped me change my direction…made me really think hard about what I was to do with my life…

I decided in view of what I really wanted to do and the gifts I had been given by God to follow the life of a painter.

I went to art School at Prahran College now called Swinburn University. At the time it was considered as the most progressive art school in Australia. The Head of Art was Jeffrey Makin and Roger Kemp, then regarded as the greatest living painter. There was still the influence of Clement Greenberg and the Abstract Expressionists.

(For more on this see my blog articles ‘Art Education in Australia’ published in the Jackdaw March/April 2017 and 'Beyond Post Modernism’ published in the Jackdaw Sept/October issue and Society of Catholic Artists Bulletin).



The Emergent Christ, Oil on Linen, 50cm x 50cm

Meditation on Light and Matter (Homage to Ferdinand Leger), Oil on Linen, 40cm x 30cm