Artwork by Mel Taylor
I am an artist from Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia. Kalgoorlie is a regional mining town 600km from Perth, Western Australia’s capital. Kalgoorlie is in one of the most isolated areas of Australia, where even buying art supplies is limited. I work out of my garage opposite beautiful native bushland. In summer it is hot! often reaching temperatures well past 40 degrees centigrade.
I love oil paints; the way they move on a canvas, how versatile they can be, and the depth they have. As anyone who paints, I am still learning and in just about every session I discover something new (often, what not to do). The whole process of drawing and painting is a learning journey, which is why I love this creative practice.
Progressing my skills in oil painting has been through reading, you tube, short online courses and trial and error. I am at a stage in my practice where I really need to refine and consolidate some skills and extend these – this is where the Old Masters Academy would be perfect!
Portraits and landscapes form the majority of my work and I have always revered the Old Masters; the sheer enchantment of works by Vermeer, van Eyck, and one of my favourites, Claude Vignon, fascinates me in their use of light and realism. I try and replicate this in how I paint, however I feel my learning is patchy, as I ‘pick up things’ through the internet and have lacked a strategic process of learning the time honoured practices.
I have accessed a couple of courses online, which has made a considerable difference to my learning. The Old Masters Academy would allow me to continue to work at home, learning from the experts. It is near impossible to access anything of this calibre in Western Australia. As mentioned, it would involve a lengthy trip (most likely to the eastern side of Australia, around 3000km away), extra costs such as accommodation and time away from my family, studio and practice. Did I also mention I have cancer? I don’t add this in an attempt in gaining pity. This just means it is difficult to add this sort of travel in, as I already make the trek to Perth and back every eight weeks for treatment.
Having access to the Old Masters Academy would allow my work to continually improve, fix the flaws and ensure I am creating works that would hopefully be passed on to future generations.