|Articles on this page with permission from GREG WANE, are taken from the Barwon Heads,Ocean Grove, and Wallington news .||Issn 13290371|
Published by Whistler Publishing
PO. Box 358, Ocean Grove
Editor Greg Wayne
Peter Eggleton is highly regarded in the art world. He also knows a thing or two about chooks.
Artist Peter Eggleton reckons he is more widely known as a chook judge than an artist. Having spent a great deal of his working and retirement life in the poultry industry and as a poultry judge at agricultural shows Australiawide, Peter says he mixes in two different circles of people - the chook people and the painting people.
In the earlier years when the painting people found out 1 showed and judged poultry they were a bit astonished and when the chook people found out 1 paint, they could scarcely believe it!" he laughed.
But it was the chooks that bought Peter and his family to Barwon Heads, in 1965, to run a poultry business on 16 acres in Taits Road.
Now retired and living a few kilometres away, but still on the edge of town, his painting studio overlooks the landscape west of the town to the sand dunes of 13th Beach in the distance.
Born in England in 1927, Peter developed an interest in art at Sutton Grammar School as a 15 year-old working in watercolours initially. He came to Australia in 1949 with his parents and three brothers and after a brief stay in northern Victoria, they moved to Croydon, then Lilydale before moving to Barwon Heads.
Developing all the while as a painter, honing his drawing technique and colour mixing skills working mainly in watercolour, but occasionally in oils. His first solo exhibition was at the Earl Gallery in 1978 followed by a series of solo exhibitions at Melbourne and Geelong galleries through the 1980s and 1990s.
He was recognised by the Geelong Art Society as Artist of the Year in 1988 and has won more than 100 prizes for his work in watercolours.
Many local artists owe their beginnings to Peter's skill at teaching his craft. Art classes and painting workshops are conducted regularly from his Barwon Heads studio and he leads his group of budding artists to favorite painting locations near the Sheepwash and around the Barwon Heads river foreshore.
Retirees and senior citizens make up the majority of art classes, but Peter said, younger enthusiasts have attended his art classes over the years ~ the youngest he could recall was a 12-year old boy who wanted to improve his painting skills.
Boats and harbour scenes are Peter Eggleton's trademarks and he laments the demise of the fishing industry at Barwon Heads that used to provide him with plenty of subject matter.
"Queenscliff and Apollo Bay are both great locations for painting boats, piers and harbour scenes," he said. Painting from life is preferred but often.it is necessary to photograph a scene and work from the colour slide.
"Because moored boats move all the time with the tide and often boat owners will sail them away from the harbour while you are still painting them!"
Among the many group shows he has exhibited in that stand out include, Geelong Art Gallery 1982, Balmoral Galleries 1987, Victorian Artist Society 1989, Hesley Gallery Canberra 1990, Chinese-Australian Exchange Exhibition 1995 and the international Asian Pacific Watercolour Exhibitions, four years in a row, from 1996 to 1999.
As a master painter and watercolourist Peter said the most obvious flaw with many new artists was their lack of drawing ability. "These artists can't draw properly, they get the perspective all wrong. The best way a new artist can improve their technique is to learn to draw. The next most important aspect is to learn colour mixing.
I suggest a new artist should buy a few colours. Start with, say, three and no more than six colours and learn what you can do with these - watercolours or oils," he said. "Black, white and umber is a good basic set. It's getting the tones right that is the trick, then you can add the colour later, particularly with oils.
"Many of the old masters painted with umber [natural brown colour] first to get the tones right and then they would glaze the transparent colours over the top last."
Peter is a life member of the Geelong Art Society, a signatory member of the Victorian Artists Society and a member of the Old Watercolour Society Club. Many of his works hang in private and corporate collections throughout Australia, south east Asia, Europe, Canada and the United States, and I wonder how many of these art buyers realise this Barwon Heads watercolourist is also a famous Australian poultry judge?
-By Greg Wane