A perfect finish – Rosemary’s oil paintings

Robyn looks at Rosemary and smiles. In front of then are two more oil paintings which Rosemary is working on. Rosemary Broun says the secret to painting is patience, especially when using oils. The 90-year-old says patience is key when you’re mixing the paints to achieve the right colours, and getting the right colours can be tricky, especially if you have limited sight.

Painting is a hobby Rosemary really enjoys and thanks to Art Therapist Robyn Laycock, she’s being given techniques and guidance to pursue her passion. There are plenty of activities to choose from at our Community Activity Centre (CAC), so why not investigate the recreational activities on offer and come and join in?

We caught up with Rosemary to find out more about her passion for paintings.

How did your love of oil paintings start?

“I have always loved art and taken an interest in paintings. Six years ago, I joined a weaving group in Subiaco organised by the West Australian Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts. I noticed they also had painting lessons and so I started with water colours, then acrylics.

It was while I was at the Community Activity Centre (CAC) that Art Therapist, Robyn encouraged me to try oil paints. I am so glad I did, I love the textures and Robyn is such a great tutor, she really inspires me.”

How do you paint oil pictures with limited vision?

“It involves a fair bit of organisation. I don’t have any vision in my left eye and only minimal in my right eye because of macular degeneration. When I was five-years-old I had an accident. I was playing with my brother and some steel flicked up into my eye.

I enjoy oil painting as it is a slower process because it stays wet for a longer time, more so than acrylics and water colours. It gives me the flexibility to stop and start as I like. It also gives me more time to blend the colours on the canvas, so I can add texture and depth.

I find a picture I want to copy and blow it up large to see it better. I work using a magnifier and extra light. Then using a piece of carbon paper, I trace the picture onto the canvas, so it acts as my map to guide me.

I prefer painting with bright colours as I can see better. For example, my painting of a bowl of lemons is quite vivid with the yellow hues. It’s one of my favourite pictures because it’s so cheerful. I took my inspiration from a similar painting I saw in a book that I borrowed from the library.

I’ve also finished a seascape and enjoyed working on the dramatic sky in this painting. It’s a study of a a Claude Monet painting Fishing Boats at Sea which was painted in 1868. I have visited the Monet Gallery in France, his work is very recognisable.”

Who makes the frames?

“I make the frames for my oil paintings in my woodworking classes. It’s done under the guidance of Woodworking Instructor William Ford, and a volunteer called Eddie Reece. I never expected to be using hammers and a drop-saw at 90, but it’s fairly easy to do with some instruction.

These two oil paintings are for myself. I’ll hang them up at home so they’re on display for all to see. I’ve also completed an oil painting of a Guide Dog which I gave to my nephew because he loves Labradors.

I’d encourage others to take up art because it’s very therapeutic and relaxing. You’re never too old to learn something new.”