A beach-walk through my dad's brushstrokes

I visited the Art Gallery of South Australia a couple of weeks ago and was pleased to find some interesting and engaging works amongst the many works that seemed much less interesting. That's the thing with art though isn't it? What one likes another may despise, or what a person judges as groundbreaking and creative another may find boring, childlike or ugly. It's probably fair to say that art, and people's perception of it is, at least as varied as those of us who observe it.

I've written a couple of posts about my trip to the art gallery; You can see them here and also here. I have a couple more to write however today thought I'd write about the piece you see here in this post instead.

I didn't have to travel far to find this piece; It hangs in my home; A window to a never-changing scene...Sometimes I find myself wanting to crawl through to walk upon this beach, feel cool waters lapping at my feet, the salty sea breeze on my face, tousling my hair with the echos of rolling thunder announcing an impending tropical downpour...The cool thing is that I have indeed walked on this beach, as have most of my family at some stage or another.

The painting is large, over 1.5m x 1.0m - an acrylic on canvas work. It depicts a scene in Far North Queensland, Australia and I'm proud to say was painted by my father.

My dad has been an artist all his life, is published, and has artworks spread around the world, hanging in private collections mainly. It was his talent that brought him to Australia for a national exhibition tour in conjunction with a keynote-speaking tour at Universities, art gallery's, on radio and television. It was the mid-1960's. It was at one such speaking commitment where he met my mum and the rest, as they say, is history. In truth though history is still being made through the lives of his children and our families.

I recall the family convincing my dad to paint this; He was reluctant but obviously caved in and did so; He had been commissioned by a man to paint a large piece of a similar nature although with the inclusion of the man's daughter walking half way up the beach you see. She was turned away from the observer, blonde hair flowing on that sea breeze I mentioned, and wearing a yellow bikini. It was a stunning piece of work, somewhat larger than mine and completely captivating. I believe it was far better than my version too; It left a person feeling like they could reach inside, become immersed. Unfortunately it was a commission, a costly one, and now hangs somewhere prominently and hopefully greatly appreciated.

My dad painted this one with no intention of selling it out of the family and it is now mine and Faith's. My dad painted it differently than the original not wanting two similar paintings out there, and omitted the bikini-girl. We cherish it, and barely a day goes by in which I don't look at it and appreciate my dad's skill and the way he made this simple scene come to life.

I'm sorry but the image probably doesn't do the painting much justice as a lot of the detail doesn't come through and I believe the size of the piece in real life adds to the overall effect - However you may get the idea I guess.

If any of you have been to Cairns, Queensland the scene may feel familiar and you'd be right in that feeling. Whilst it's not an exact depiction of what my dad saw it captures the essence of the tropical location, the way the land captures and folds clouds upon themselves to create heavy tropical rain and amazingly detailed cloud formations. It shows the islands covered in dense rainforest off the coast, pristine beaches and of course the lovely blue-green waters.

My dad spent many years living in this area and has works that depict scenes from in and around the city including the rainforest, marina, various nautical-themed pieces and of course the creeks, rivers and ocean. He even delved beneath the waves to paint the Great Barrier Reef - Also in my personal collection, which I will show you some other time.

Lamentably my father doesn't paint anymore. He has been struck down with dementia and resides in a nursing home near where I live. We encouraged him to continue painting initially, which he did, however he lost interest about 18 months ago and ceased to paint. I have his last-ever painting and whilst it's far better than I could ever do it is a far leap from his best work. I will retain it for posterity's sake of course and pass it over to those will come after me, my nieces and nephew.

Dad struggles to remember who I am mostly now - I prompt him and see a spark of recognition however it doesn't last long. We repeat conversations over and over and he tells me about my mum who passed away in 2004 after a fight with cancer. He forgets that I knew who she was I think. It's sad to see him like this, just a pale shadow of his former self although not all is lost. His spirit lives in his artwork and all I have to do is take a look at one of the paintings and that familiar man with paint brushes in his hand is with me again.

I wouldn't call myself qualified to judge art, have not studied it and simply go by what I think looks good, what resonates with me, captures my interest. Obviously with my dad's work I'm a little biased, although having said that there's some I don't find interesting at all - Some of his abstract works come to mind.

What I am highly qualified in is being my dad's son and as such I cherish and value his works, all of them. I hold a selection of paintings on behalf of two of my brothers who are not in a position to keep them personally at this stage. I had my father, some three or so years ago, go through all of his work that remained with the family and select who he wanted each piece to go to. So, we all have a selection and something to pass along to future generations.

I don't care if people like his work or not, probably in the same way an artist whose work is exhibited in the art gallery would not care if I liked his or her work in turn. It means something to me though and in my humble opinion that's the whole point of art.

My dad's art brings memories of times past, good and bad; Just life in general. My father's brushstrokes are some of my most treasured possessions. They provide a connection of sorts I guess. They will all pass to another at some stage, maybe @smallsteps or my nephew, both currently very young, and I look forward to ensuring they know the story of the man who created it; Their grandfather.

Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default

Discord: @galenkp#9209 🇦🇺
@curangel curator

Comments 20

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19.09.2019 01:41

This is heartbreaking, but also quite beautiful. I’m sorry to hear about your father, but I’m glad you will be carrying on those memories... and I hate to break it to you, but you are an artist.. as you have quite the way with words. ❤️

19.09.2019 02:37

Hey you, thanks for your nice words. Yeah, it’s pretty sad dad doesn’t paint but for quite some time we could see that his interest (passion) was waning. He was a pretty interesting dude in his day. Now, well he’s just dad - It’s enough.

An artist you reckon? Some would say bullshit artist but I call bullshit on that. 😜

It’s always nice to see your name pop up in my feed so thank you. 😉

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19.09.2019 02:52

At first look of the art that's drawn the beach in the sea. I thought it was real, I thought it's part of a window that you can sight seeing of a house near in the sea. But then it's an art but not real, it's fine. Some art fulfill our need's when we need to see something we couldn't see. But one thing for sure that hit's me. The sad story of your dad about forgetting you while he always remember your mom died. Maybe the art drawn in the sea because the artist imagine his family together there. He's sitting in the shore and watching his family smiling while enjoying the beach.

Sorry I'm an emotional person and I can feel sadness everytime I'll see a great art. I imagine myself in there alone. By the way thanks for sharing it, it will cost a penny seeing this kind of masterpiece. Have a nice day

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19.09.2019 03:11

Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read my post. I’m fortunate that I can view this artwork every day and enjoy it.

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19.09.2019 04:50

Nice view, feel fresh

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19.09.2019 04:27

Nice view

I agree with you.

Feel fresh

You mean you feel fresh or are you suggesting that I should feel fresh? I'm somewhat discombobulated.

Either way, I thank you for taking the time to actually read my post all the way through and taking the time to reply with such validity.

19.09.2019 10:52

It's interesting how a painting can capture a scene better than a photo in some ways. In the thumbnail, I thought it was a photo, but there's a depth, almost a feeling, there which makes you think you can feel what it would be like there. Maybe it's like the door to Narnia. :D

I love a story which comes with an artwork, but now I'm about to cry...

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19.09.2019 05:49

It’s an interesting piece isn’t it? Yeah, Narnia comes to mind...That scene on the beach where they meet the little guy.

Don’t be sad mini, dad led a good life, he was content, grateful for his family and passionately engaged with his art. We never really had a lot growing up but we had good times. It’s sad that his memory is gone but he got to live his life first hand and he made the best one he could, just as his children do.

He will be gone one day, but a bit of him lives in each of us and so not totally gone.

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19.09.2019 07:08

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19.09.2019 15:16

They're not just clouds. They're tropical clouds. Reminds me of flying from Cairns to Port Moresby, over the Great Barrier reef; above the clouds, looking down. Colours are spot on.

19.09.2019 16:45

Yep, the Cairns clouds...It's a nice spot, but bloody humid!

19.09.2019 22:02

Sorry to hear about your father. At least you have the painting(s). It is a wonderful piece that I am sure is even better in person!

19.09.2019 18:06

All good mate, and yes it's a pretty nice spot. I used to live there for a while...Worse places to live.

19.09.2019 22:06

I presented it in #pypt discord

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20.09.2019 00:16

Thank you. I'm not sure what that is however I appreciate your endorsement.

20.09.2019 01:16

He definitely had a good eye. Thre's so many colours! And I've never been to that part of the world but there are very similar clouds back home which this reminds me of :)

20.09.2019 14:18

I think tropical clouds are the same all over. Cairns is a nice spot, but like most of the Top End you gotta pick your time. May to November is good. Outside of those months it's really humid and rains a lot. Wet season (summer) is not a good time to be there if you're just holidaying.

Yeah, dad knew how to wield a paint brush.

21.09.2019 00:21

So six months wet season six months dry season despite what other seasons are going on around it? Sounds like the tropics XD

21.09.2019 01:07

It's not quite like that but essentially there's only two seasons. There's no winter or spring really. You obviously understand. I've been in Cairns over the wet season and whilst life goes on...Yeah, not real pleasant.

21.09.2019 01:31