Joanne Coleman, March 2022

Hello to all Whitehorse Arties,
What an honour to tell my Art story, it’s not flashy but it’s mine. I grew up in Waverley in a family of nine which was quite difficult at times but to this day very loving. I was quite a sickly child with chronic Asthma, so much so, that in the first year of High school I had 75 days absent with Asthma and lung infections. This gave me much time in bed so I was always sketching.
I left school at 16 and went to work in a Melbourne fashion house, Park Avenue Gowns, I lasted one day . I had to sew labels on the neck facings till I could not feel my bloodied fingers. I then worked fulltime at Specialty Greetings Cards as an accounts payable clerk. I can remember being quite envious of a young girl in the Art Dept, my dream job.
I met my husband Gary at Specialty. We married and three sons later, life got very busy. Later Mum came to live with us. She was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease and I became her fulltime carer. During this time my brother gave me respite on a Wednesday so I could go to a community centre, AMAROO. This is where I had my first art lesson. When mum passed away, I joined the Waverley Arts Society and then the Highway Gallery. I soon met up with Carol Boothman and her classes. She tutored me till her retirement, and now Annie Edwards has taken over.

I was on the committee of the Highway Gallery for nine years and spent many hours manning it. Like everything in this fast world, good things come to an end. Waverley Arts was no more and the Gallery was handed back to the Monash council. I then met the Dare group who were going to inspire me to be daring. Ha! Ha! We would meet for coffee and show our latest works.
I think I joined the Whitehorse Arts group in 2016 and met up with Jon Lam who encouraged me to go to the Portrait group . I should have started earlier. I enjoy this class very much, such a lovely bunch of people. I find it hard to do fine work now as my fingers don’t work as well. I like to paint quickly, no fuss, get something down in an instant . Portraits from life help you to work quickly, keeping your fingers moving. Most important I think. I looove Pastel but it can irritate my lungs, so my choice of medium is oil. It is so forgiving.
I have entered many shows, one being first Prize at the Highway Gallery, which was to have my own art show at Heritage Hill museum. This was a great experience and very successful. I have won numerous awards and made such lovely friends along the way. We have seven grandchildren who keep us busy and we do caravanning to visit family. When I’m painting I always remember “less is more” and “paint what you see not what you know”.

Cheers Joanne Coleman