Raymond L O’Brien
I began drawing as a child, living at Petrie Terrace, in inner Brisbane. My reference material was newspaper advertisements and Mum’s Women’s Weekly. I had an abrupt introduction to politics, when I innocently drew the then Prime Minister Robert Menzies. Dad said tersely, “what did you draw HIM for?”
Undeterred, at the tender age of 14, I attended the Police Club (PCYC) art class, where two policemen taught us the basics of oil painting, “You use base grey in the distance and add more colour as you come forward”. We painted on the rough side of Masonite.
Once married, my painting efforts were somewhat spasmodic until I bought a bush block at Maryvale in 1994. I began painting local landscapes and entering local competitions including continued success at the Warwick Agricultural Show.
I had a couple of successful one-man exhibitions in The Maryvale Pub. I remember trying to coax punters from the bar into my show in the billiard room! I also exhibited at the Warwick Regional Gallery, culminating in a win in the local artist section of the Warwick Art Prize.
In 2009 I stretched my wings with a one man exhibition at Balmoral Beach in Sydney, entitled “Balmoral Conversations”, featuring local beach scenes with bathers. It was successful, selling one third of the 30 works and receiving several commissions.
During the same year I won the Marine/Seascapes class at the Brisbane Ekka with a painting of SS Dicky wreck at Caloundra. The highlight of 2015 was a second in the Ipswich Art Awards (from 120 entries). The judge was Ben Quilty, whom I had the pleasure of meeting on opening night.
I have become known for my realistic renditions of calm water, eg. Calm Before The Storm, illustrated on this page. My style in oils is “contemporary realism”, ie. representative without every detail.
More recently I have been focusing on portrait painting, which can be challenging, and my favourite local landscape subject – Cabbage Tree Creek in Shorncliffe.
I get great pleasure in representing God’s work in oils, both in nature and in human nature, especially in the good company of fellow SAS members, who are always enthusiastic and encouraging!
As long as there are interesting reflections in water and wonderfully complicated cloudy skies, I’ll always have something to paint!