I was excited when selected to participate in the Edward Millen Centennial Celebration on Sunday 11th November 2012, in the Town of Victoria Park, Perth WA.
We were asked to do a painting on sight during the day giving our own interpretation of the event, celebrating this magnificent building which is in the process of being restored to its former glory by the Victoria Park Council. There were about 5 artists participating on the day and we all eagerly looked for the perfect spot to start creating! Some of the artists had arrived early and were well on the way, so I felt the pressure!
The spot I chose gave me a clear view of the building as well as the colourful ice cream van, tram and I could also see the visitors milling around and filtering through the building to get a glimpse of the interior. As this building has been closed to the public for some time due to disrepair there seemed to be a lot of interest.
It was a beautiful sunny day but the wind proved to be a problem. So after setting up, with one hand on the easel to stop it from taking flight and the other free to paint I took a deep breath and made a start. It was a challenge as there was a lot going on and choices had to be made as what to keep and what to leave out?
Slowly I got into it and enjoyed the curiosity of the onlookers. Even the security guards showed a keen interest and visited me at different intervals to see the progress. Curious children wanted to know what I was using and commented on various aspects of the developing piece. Several of the onlookers came to tell me what the other artists were painting and their approach, which was interesting as I was not able to leave my easel at any time during the day.
Towards the end of the day, the local bush poet who had come to recite his poetry on the day, stopped to say hello and was kind enough to give me my own personal reading as I had missed out on all the action! How lucky was I?
Having painted solidly in the sun from 1 – 4pm I was exhausted and it was now time to pack up as the celebration came to an end.
After packing my gear back into my car I rushed up to the building to see if I could have a quick look inside before they locked up and was not disappointed. The stain glass windows on the entrance doors glowed from within and the whole building oozed with history. I could feel the presence of those that had climbed the staircase and walked through the passageways in times gone by. Upstairs the sun streamed through the lattice work on the balcony veranda and there seemed to be a renewed pride, a feeling of regeneration. So the building lives on and it story will continue.
I am so happy that I was able to be a part of this historic day and look forward to seeing the building when restoration has been completed. I think it would make a fantastic art centre!
I took the painting home to put on a few final touches before delivering it to the council the following week where it has become an acquisition, adding to their collection.
If you wish to find out more about this building visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geoff-inoz/5460951253/
The photo below was taken by a passer by who emailed it to me that night. As you can see it was a pretty bright and sunny day.
My completed painting titled: ‘Millen Magic’. I wanted to capture the feeling of old and new in celebration of the rebirth of the Edward Millen Building.
I chose to do this piece in pastel on colourfix primed board. It turned out to be a good choice of medium because of the wind and heat on the day.