‘Colour is My Voice’
‘Colour is My Voice’ was my very first solo exhibition, it was very special and important to me. The exhibition was held at The Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre on the Sunshine Coast, running from November 2013 to January 2014. The official opening on 3rd December 2013 coincided with International Day of People With A Disability, which had the theme of “Breaking Barriers and Opening Doors” – very appropriate, because three of my major works in the exhibition were paintings on doors.
The exhibition was officially opened by Independent MP, Peter Wellington. Guest speaker was my friend and art mentor, celebrated local artist Ross Barber, who first inspired me to paint at a workshop at the Butter Factory a decade earlier.
To recognize the significance of the day and the amazing capabilities of people with disabilities, the gallery held a day of activities including a communal art project (painting on a door) and promotional displays by Sunshine Coast Disability organisations and service providers.
Along with my door paintings, much of my art in the exhibition had a very strong musical theme, featuring collages with sheet music and various instruments, especially guitars.
I worked on my pieces for this exhibition with assistance and direction from my art tutor and friend Cheryl Nonmus. Here Cheryl shares a little insight into how ‘Colour is My Voice’ was created.
“The many themes that we have been exploring for these new artworks have been influenced by Peter’s interests and his family members. He loves to listen to music, whether it is to sing along and be upbeat, or to listen to a calm melody at night to go to sleep. So the piano, guitar and violins have been the main instruments used for the shapes.”
In preparation for my portfolio of artworks for the exhibition, Cheryl made templates for the musical instruments in all different sizes and shapes, which could be used for repetition.
The three doors that feature in the exhibition was an exciting venture, as I hadn’t worked on such large surface areas before. Working on these projects, Cheryl was also able to introduce me to some exciting new techniques, materials and applications.
For example, in each lesson Cheryl had me layering paint onto the door’s surface, then using a sander to peel back the layers so the result was an abstract medley of colours, which could then be drawn onto.
We collaged music sheets onto many surfaces, then I worked the colours onto those.
Other new techniques included the use of Gold Leaf ripped and glued on, using inks and delicate pen work, ripped paper collage, spray paint through grids (to get the square shapes), cutting shapes from my drawings and gluing them onto a new landscape background.
During and leading up to the exhibition launch event, I was filmed by Caron Menashe for a documentary for the Anti-Discrimination Commission, Queensland.