Dulcie Rhodes: A Romantic Colourist

The work of Dulcie Rhodes is an art of the expression of an idea or feeling, it is not that she has rejected all other forms, rather, the one that most meets her needs. The paintings always have content that arrive at a certain point; like the train or bus either departing or arriving at its station, sometimes it arrives at the terminal, at which time Dulcie will disappear to some place new. There is always struggle and experiment and the work never aims for perfection. Subjects always spring from a subtle idea, an unresolved problem or a straightforward request.

Dulcie comes from Perth in Western Australia, where she was born into a working class religious family on the 9th of April 1940, one of seven children; she was the middle child. It is an interesting fact that her eldest sister was exactly six years older than Dulcie, while her youngest brother was six years younger. At twelve years old Dulcie found a magazine with a lead pencil drawing on the back cover of an old man?s face, offering lessons on ?How to Draw?. It was riveting for her, she remembers tracing it a hundred times before feeling confidant enough to try it free hand. Around the same age she ?accidentally? experienced the spiritual nature of colour when walking past her father?s double garage; the doors were wide open and all her father?s tins of paint were pushed together in wide rows and all the lids were off. Her father had been mixing and straining the paint in them in preparation for his work, he was a painter/decorator by trade; he was also a very hard man in his beliefs and attitudes.

In the late seventies Dulcie enrolled at TAFE in James Street Perth studying Art History, Painting and Drawing. Until that time she truly believed in her careful precious drawings and paintings, this changed as the years of study passed bringing about a journey in the world aimed at ?finding her own way,? and fuelled by a fierce restlessness. Exhibitions have never been high on Dulcie?s list of things to do, consequently there
have only been three of any note.

It is a mistake to think Dulcie found painting 'easy', nothing could be further than the truth. For Dulcie, Painting is a way to learn to make decisions by way of learning to solve problems.After years of 'falling down the rabbit hole',always having to start anew. Eric Tristram, the well known Sculpture lecturer and calligrapher said it best in an article about Dulcie.

'One way to distingish between a serious artist and a hobby painter is to examine their motives. Why do they paint? The hobby painter gets the satisfaction of producing paintings of increasing skill and enjoys the praise of family and friends - and there is nothing wrong in that. these are the typical rewards of any hobby-a leasure time activity pursued for its own sake. Art for Art's sake is definately a hobbyist's goal.

Every artist I have known is using art as a means to a definate effect. To them, Painting is not a product, but a process. To the artist, Art is therapy, a meditation, a means of posing questions and exploring alternatives to resolve inner conflict. By this process, emotional tension is eased and life can go on.'
quote: Eric Tristram - 1988 (in support of
the Spellbound Exhibition -
Alexander Galleries - Perth)