A two-year artistic labour of love will be exhibited at the Kiama Show.
Blue Haven resident Des Sherlock, 90, recently completed his Australian Story project.
“I am a retired engineer who spent much of his working life in the inland areas of Australia and formed a great admiration for the men and women who farmed these arid areas,” Sherlock said.
“For many years I have been interested in art and had purchased works by a Cowra artist about 20 years ago.
“As I then lived in the Drummoyne area of Sydney the artist asked me to deliver two paintings to the art gallery for inclusion in the Archibald competition.
“When the paintings were rejected the artist was naturally disappointed and told me to keep the paintings, which I did.
“I took them with me to Kiama when I retired there in 2007.”
During his time in Kiama, Sherlock’s admiration for the paintings grew to the extent that he decided, “I must combine them together as an artistic feature which depicted the farmer with a vision for his land, and the other farmer completely devastated by his land being affected by drought”.
“I like having a project and I decided a couple of years ago to proceed with it,” he said.
“I subsequently named the feature Australian Story and it took me and my helpers two years to complete.”
Australian Story is two metres in length and two metres in height.
“I had a trolley, which I had converted and enlarged,” Sherlock said.
“I bought extra steel and put it in, and we gradually made up the frame.
“Then I had to have the paintings re-framed, and mounted them inside… Put a base in, side panels in (which incorporate additional images supplied via friends) and a rusty corrugated iron roof on.”
The portraits will be exhibited at the upcoming Kiama Show.
“Hopefully I may also enter it in an a major gallery competition,” Sherlock said.
“It was quite tedious work at times. It took me a lot longer than I expected, but I think the result is better than I expected too.”
This will be Sherlock’s first time exhibiting at the Kiama Show. His wife Valerie has entered roses in the show in the past.
The 169th annual Kiama Show will take place on Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28 at Kiama Showground.