Starting the Journey

When the formalities of art studies are done, many things become obvious to an artist. One of them is that there is no beckoning door that says 'go that way' or 'come this way'; as is the case if you've studied Nursing or Computer Science, even Law or Medicine. One graduated and 'signed on for the dole', that is if you want to find a way to live from your work. There is that expectation that you would wash dishes or sweep floors. Or maybe you will be thought good enough to teach. None of these things interested me, had a job and raised a family while painting in those early years.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing is it not? The circumstances,economical, emotional and mental, determined as much about the work as inspiration and energy. It was the disintegration of my family and the necessary healing that followed that bought about the right conditions where painting could take place. Also, though many did not understand, I find it difficult to think of myself 'Artist'; I prefer 'Painter', I can live with that.

Fremantle was just a little port town when I first set up a studio. It began a long line of such places. The spaces always lasted about six months before I was required to find another. Around 1986, came a series of drawings and paintings reflecting the events that shaped my childhood. In six months sixty drawings and 20 paintings. Over these months many people saw some of these works as they were being created and encouraged me to hold an exhibition; others were offended and suggested they be destroyed. I agreed to hold an exhibition in Fremantle; but this idea changed when it was thought an Exhibition in Perth would reach more people.

'Spellbound, Persecution from within', an Exhibition of drawings and paintings was held at Alexander Galleries in Francis Street, Perth; opening on the 17th April, 1988. It was my first major exhibition and was critically received.

The America's Cup had come and gone when Dulcie finally arrived at her first professional studio. It was at 33 Pakenham Street. Her studio was on the second floor and was full of wax and grot left there by the previous tennant. It took endless trips up and down the stairs carrying buckets of the stuff to the bins at street level; two weeks before anything could begin. Another problem waa the shower and toilet were also down on the ground floor. It was 1986; It cost $55 a month. The artist John Beard's studio was on one side of hers, and the local artist Lazlo Lucas on the other.

These were the 'salad days' of the journey since Fremantle's 'art scene' was still in its infancy. No-one at that time worried about the CV, or the next exhibition: everyone was experimenting and solving artistic problems. A few galleries opened up and a few people opened studios too. Then Dulcie was approached to help establish the Fremantle Arts Foundation to be set up in the Old Customs House at Bathers Beach.