Graeme Myrteza

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Graeme Myrteza--ArtistHow often have you stood next to someone at an exhibition to hear them exclaim at a painting, “This work is terrible!” as you, yourself were thinking, “Wow, if only I could do something that well.” Graeme Myrteza has a very strong personal belief that the appreciation of art is such a personal endeavour. As he puts it, “We’d all be married to the same sheila if it was as easy as that.”

There are no airs and graces at all about Graeme. He tells it like it is. Growing up on a dairy farm, Graeme was a farmer all his working life. He started, as you do in the rich red earth of Thorpdale, growing potatoes. And then he saw an opportunity to export carrots to Asia. He imported the seeds, grew the vegetables with a terrific shelf life, found markets in Singapore, KL and Japan and bundled the carrots into shipping containers where six weeks later, he proudly tells me, when they arrived in Asia they were as fresh as when they were on loading. But then the Japanese recession hit, and Graeme had to find a market for 200 acres’ worth of carrots. It wasn’t easy – but he managed.

By this stage he was in his mid-50s and looking to slow down. And it was at this time that his son, Brett, needed him the most. Because Brett was dying after a long illness.

On the long days and nights, as Graeme sat next to his bed-ridden son, he started to sketch. Graeme had last sketched as a boy of 15 when he scribbled on the back of calendars or any bit of paper lying around. Remember when you learned how to write and the teacher would get you to draw a picture of a red car driving over a hill so that you could learn the words, ‘red’, ‘car’ and ‘hill’? Well, Graeme loved the drawing so much, the learning of how to write was incidental. As the class became more proficient with writing the teacher stopped the drawing. Graeme asked when they might be able to draw again. “Surely you have grown out of that by now,” came the reply.

Whilst the education system didn’t encourage him to draw, his mother did, but the realities of life struck when he started to farm. He hadn’t picked up a drawing pencil since. But here he was drawn back to the solace of creating an image on the paper. He showed me some of his early drawings sketched as he sat by his son’s bed and what I was frankly amazed at was how quickly the drawings graduated from almost stick figures to well-formed representations of characters of the bush. He tells me that he showed a few of his drawings to artist mates who told him he should start to paint.

Brett never saw his father’s paintings, because as a kind of therapy Graeme only started to paint when Brett passed away. Essentially self-taught he did ask friends who were artists to be critical of his work. Phil Henshall, a fellow artist, was reticent about being blunt but Graeme encouraged him to tell the truth, “I am 60 years old, I haven’t got 30 years to learn that s@#!, tell me now.” And learn Graeme did.

He took himself and his wonderfully supportive wife on long pilgrimages out into the bush. He loved looking at how the light brought each scene to life. “If a painting hasn’t got light in it, it hasn’t got a life.” In the flies and the heat he would absorb the feeling of the bush. If he had his way he would do all his work plein air but that is not practical.

He started to paint – landscapes in oil. Once again I marvelled at how quickly he mastered his technique. He takes me through a photo album where he shows each of his paintings. Each double page has four paintings. I think we were only on the fourth or fifth double page before he tells me that one of the paintings was sold. It was probably only the next couple of double pages before it was not so much the paintings that he had sold, but the ones that hadn’t sold, or the ones he donated to be auctioned at charities.

But he still wasn’t sure that he was meant to be an artist. He thought maybe he should be out there playing golf. When this same photo album that I am looking at had only around 60 or 70 paintings in it, Graeme counted the pages and found there were 150. He told himself that he would fill the album and then make a decision. “And I have been going ever since,” he declares.

He gets ideas as he travels around, sketch pad always at the ready. He will head back to his studio and stand in front of the canvas, an image of the painting he will create in his mind, and will draw around 6 lines, just to get the composition right. He says, “What is the point of a detailed drawing if you’re going to cover it all up?” And then he will start with his palette knife covering the canvas with thick daubs of oil paint. He is prolific. “I am passionate about painting; I love the smell of the paints, turps, canvas and above all – the challenge and satisfaction of capturing the dramatic play of light on the gum trees, mountains, rivers and valleys of our magnificent country”.

Each of Graeme’s paintings has Brett’s initials painted onto it. You will find them on a piece of bark peeling off a gum tree stressed by the heat, or in a stream reflecting the light filtering through the trees, or even in the clouds. But you will always find them. Because they are so much a part of the story.


Julia Price

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Julia Price--ArtistJulia’s Retrospective exhibition was held at ArtSpace Wonthaggi from 9 March to 17 April 2017.

I have been drawing and painting since I was a child. I shared a happy, creative environment of art and music with my parents and four sisters. For the past 60 years I have experimented with various forms of art expression – ideas and media, concentrating on the changing elements of nature. I use many figurative forms within my paintings depicting humanity’s involvement with the earth. My art endeavours have included many Community Artwork activities. I was also one of the original “Tuesday Painters” and became more aware of contemporary works in a move to utilise an imaginative style when my husband and I travelled around Australia in our caravan. In 1979 I formed and became involved with a Group called “The Mind’s Eye Circle of Artists” concentrating on experimentation, modern art concepts and the departure from more realistic styles. I think that I sit happily in the middle of these styles.

A major part of my painting has been influenced by the Aboriginal/Koori culture and this aspect of my development is evident in my work. I prefer to express a feeling in my art which expresses the needs of people in general – to make an art statement. The aim of creating art works is aimed at sharing thought processes developed through visual and psychological experiences with the viewer. I hope that my love of rhythm, movement and music can flow freely within the framework of this type of expression.

Ellen Palmer Hubble

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Winner of the 2016 Winter Solstice Exhibition with ‘Cowgirls 1’.

Ellen Palmer Hubble with Cowgirls1I am a full time artist currently living at Cape Paterson, Victoria, amidst the captivating skies, beaches and moods of Bass Coast. I recently moved from the Dandenong Ranges and retain a passion for forests as well as rural open spaces.I have exhibited and sold artworks privately since 1985 specialising in portraits, beachscapes, forests and animals. My main mediums are Oils and Watercolour.

Book illustration and commissions are also major aspects of my artistic expression.

Palmer-Hubble is my signature name with credit to my father, Peter Palmer, who also as a painter, inspired me to study art and taught me to ‘see’. My main influences are traditional; from the Renaissance masters, Dutch Specialists, French Impressionists and Australian Impressionists. Other sources of inspiration are Fred Williams, James Gleeson and Blamire Young.

Art is a lifelong passion and an integral part of me.

Winter Solstice 2016 winners!

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Congratulations to the winners of our 2016 Winter Solstice Exhibition!
Zoe Johnson for her picture “Disposition”













Ellen Palmer-Hubble with picture “Cowgirls 1”