Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The background to how a painted portrait was created.

Creating art is always a challenge for every artist. Depending on what motivates the artist, the subject matter can be tricky. Some may be motivated by sales. Some may be motivated by some social cause. Some may wish to create something that resonates with the viewer.

I like to put myself in the latter category. I create art that I hope will strike a chord with the person looking at it and the demographic I aim for are those who are currently serving or have served and those that love and support them.

Here is a short video on what spurred me to paint my wife's portrait. I was very proud when she - then my girlfriend - went to Tarin Kot, Afghanistan as a nurse and as the commander of the Royal Australian Air Force combat surgical team.

So when the opportunity came to enter the RAAF's Heritage Awards Art Prize, she was the natural choice for the subject of the entry.

Unfortunately, it did not win... but the then Chief of Air Force, Air Marshall Mark Binskin, liked it so much that he requested it be acquired for the RAAF's Official Art Collection.

With much pride, I parted with the portrait, and now my wife has pride of place in the RAAF's history.  Ad Astra!

To visit my website or other social media channels, click on the tabs above.
To visit Sharon's website, go to

Saturday, 9 June 2018

The Story of 'Soldier, Rest! The Last of the Light Horsemen'

Soldier, Rest! The Last of the Light Horsemen Pencil on board
600mm x 1800mm

When I was a kid, I remember reading a quote from a poem by Sir Walter Scott called 'Soldier, Rest! Thy Warfare o'er."  Another was the last verse from the Eric Bogle song 'And the band played Waltzing Matilda,' which also drifted through my thoughts over many years. It told of the ponderings of a returned serviceman from Gallipoli who lost both his legs during the fighting and his musings at his fate.

Both haunted me and when I was older and started undertaking art, decided to do an image of an old Light Horseman - the last of the Light Horsemen - astride his Waler, thinking about the mates he'd lost. It seemed fitting that both those passages should accompany the image and so when I created prints of it, I sought and obtained permission from Larrikin Music to use the Eric Bogle lyrics which I coupled with the Scott poem. I added both passages to the print that I created of my drawing.

Here they are in full. I hope you find that they both go well with the image of the Last of the Light Horsemen.

SOLDIER, rest! thy warfare o'er,   Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking; Dream of battled fields no more,   Days of danger, nights of waking.  (Sir Walter Scott)
"And now every April I sit on my porch, and I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march, reviving old dreams and past glories.
And the old men march slowly, all bone-stiff and sore.
They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war.
And the young people ask: 'What are they marching for?'
And I ask  myself the same question.
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call.
But year after year...
More old men disappear...
Some day no-one will march there at all.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda, who'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by that billabong...
'Who'll come a Wlaltzing Matilda with me?'"
(Eric Bogle)


No 1 Squadron's F/A-18F.