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My Journey in Art

From Farmer’s wife, in the Victorian Mallee


Director/ Owner of Kerry Anne’s Fine Arts Gallery


Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I was born in the Mallee in the tiny bush town of Hopetoun. My family had farmed in the Mallee for many years.  When I was five we moved once more to a farm, a dairy farm, and from then on life got tough. However, I was a dreamer and the land was in my soul.  I am sure that is why later in life, so many of the early Heidelberg School paintings resonated strongly with me. 

I always loved colour and colouring-in but in my early life, art influences were nil, but I loved to draw on the edge of whatever paper I could get. My mother was an exquisite dress designer and made all our clothes. She had an excellent eye for colour combinations in dress materials and fashion, and I believe that was unconsciously passed onto me. 

The land around me has always been my canvas so drawing literally on the land, in the dust, was a favourite pastime.  

I was born with a chronic autoimmune disease that remained undiagnosed until adulthood. As well, I was extremely dyslexic with severe myopia.  So when I was finally given glasses at the age of 12 a whole new world of distance opened up for me.  At long last I could see faces, people, leaves on treetops and distant blue hills. I was in heaven but because I saw things, only in blurry shapes which were identifiable by my best friend, colour. 

So as life trundled on and I began to hear about art and as I could at last see properly I became more enamoured with the wildlife, nature and the seasonally changing in terms of colour.my drawings.  Years later, when I went to boarding school I wanted to do Art as a subject in high school. But, I was unable to, because, in the whole school, I was the only girl in years 11 and 12 who wanted to study art.  At the end of Year 12, my exam results were good enough to be awarded a scholarship to La Trobe University where I completed a Teaching Degree, specialising in art.

I had gotten the Long story short, many long years later, after going back to the Mallee to teach, I married a local farmer and had three children. The progression of my autoimmune disease together with violent bouts of domestic violence over a period of 22 years saw me turn, in my darkest days and during the long nights, to my drawing and my love of art. 

Each Tuesday I would go to the mobile library in our little town and  struggle out of it with as
many art books as I could carry. I  would pour over these books, day and night absorbing every minute detail of past and present artists' paintings.painting bug and it never left me.  I finally had something in my isolated life on the farm that I could do well and enjoy.  

The abuse in my marriage forced me to leave some years later. By this time I was selling my work and teaching a group of localsartists  Afte the divorce, Finally I was free to establish a studio for the first time in the new home I bought. As I now had to earn a living, I began to teach more seriously with my classes in demand.  As numerous art prizes and good sales in my art came in as well as working as a personal assistant to a psychologist I managed to keep the bills paid until settlement was reached.

At the same time, I began to write my first full-length novel, 'After the Dark Comes the Light.'Some four years later after my beautiful daughter had gone to uni and was settled, I left on an art crawl of the world by myself.  My intent was to learn as much as I could about all sorts of different art, artists' processes, exhibitions, printing, production and circulation and so much more. It took me to so many amazing places and I met some of the best, the world had to offer, like spending the afternoon in Robert Bateman's studio having afternoon tea with him and Birgit, what a privilege for a little Aussie veremite artist from the Mallee.

As I travelled alone across Canada and the USA in my old 1972 Ford Econovan which I called, 'The Radison' I began to relax and absorb the extraordinary landscape around me. I would loved to have spent time painting but I had to be careful being a lone woman travelling in an unknown country, not to mention the enormous cities. The bottom line was I learnt so much about international art and about myself and the goodness of others. Bob Bateman advised me to absorb the land, the animals, and the people, and when I needed to paint what I had experienced it would be in my psyche to draw on and he was so right.

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