Saturday, 1 July 2017

An Art Awakening

Yours truly at right on a potter's wheel in the PNTC art department. (Dianne Foley at left?)
When I first went to Palmerston North Teacher's College in 1967 I majored in music.  But I found both the tutor and the curriculum rather boring and far more exciting things appeared to be happening in the Art department under the tutelage of Frank Davis and Ray Thorburn.

My good friend John Brebner who I played rugby with for College was also studying art, and I recall visiting his lodgings and seeing him plugging away on a painting.

I decided that the visual arts (and particularly sculpture) were far more appealing than banging on a triangle!

Te Kooti Inspires His Warriors - F. Davis 
Frank Davis, who later became my mentor and a close family friend, agreed to me changing my study major from music to art if I produced a satisfactory portfolio over the Xmas break -  which I did.  (The painting at left is one of Frank's Te Kooti series.  I bought it off him when I was teaching in Rotorua and sold it much later at auction when I was shifting cities. Still have one of his drawings from this series)

Prior to Teachers College I had never really shown any great aptitude or motivation where the visual arts were concerned but I took to it like a duck to water.

It was a decision that changed my life and to this day the visual arts have dominated my life -  the creative beast unleashed!  A career as a secondary school art teacher followed after two years as a primary teacher.  Then a three stint as head of a regional art school in Papua New Guinea.  Several years where also spent as a Director of NZ art Museums in Hawke's Bay and Waikato (with a dash of museum marketing at the NZ Maritime Museum in Auckland thrown in)

I exhibited painting, prints and sculpture along the way before moving in to digital art later in life.

But all of this life started back in the Grey Street art department of Palmerston North Teachers College.

NB: The woman in the top photograph appears to be Di Foley from Wanganui who sang in a folk singing truly with Tom Hunter and myself.