Harry's Chooks - the Turkeys of Shelly Beach

     

Our beautiful Shelly Beach at Port Macquarie had a self-appointed guardian, Harry, who lived for 40 years on the beach in his caravan. When the council tried to move him on, the locals got together and defended his right to stay there. He was honoured with the title 'Mayor of Shelly Beach'. Native bush turkeys live there too and Harry called the turkeys his 'chooks'. These turkeys have such strong personalities, are cheeky and bold and very at home roaming around ferreting through any unsupervised picnic baskets they manage to find.

Harry's time at Shelly Beach has been commemorated by a number of great sculptures, most notably for me is the warmth and humour of the caravan sculpture. As an almost daily visitor to Shelly Beach I felt compelled to paint this series to try and capture the turkey's quirky personalities, the relationship Harry had with his 'chooks' and how their continued presence around Harry's caravan brings Harry to life. A turkey, Harry and the caravan feature in each painting.

Surf And Seas

       

We're blessed with many beautiful beaches here, all with their different personalities and there are plenty of intense moments to be had especially surfing.

Mythology

       

An abiding passion of mine has been the study of comparative mythology with a particular interest in western civilization.  I've coupled this interest with my passion for surfing and begun using traditional mythological stories and symbols in my paintings and drawings to explore the issue surfers face each time they paddle out - the fear of death (by shark - ick!) and the desire for life (that great wave!). 

 

 

Myrtle The Turtle Dove

       

Myrtle the Turtle Dove is a spotted turtle dove who lived with us for 4 years. We became very close. This series is about my relationship with Myrtle, and how, as I got to know her, she changed. In the first painting Myrtle begins as a bird, she had loads of character, but still she looks like a bird and she's behaving like one. Then as our bond grew I saw her differently and responded to her more strongly, and she became somewhat human with the paintings reflecting her character and moods, rather than her behaviour as a bird. These anthropomorphised Myrtles were my emotional response to how she now appeared to me and how I felt about her. Then when Myrtle left with a dove who had been courting her (go Myrtle!), she became a bird again, and that final drawing reflects both my sad feelings about our relationship ending, that's why it's still in black and white, but also happiness for Myrtle, complete and content in her new life.

Ruben

I have a small white rabbit named Ruben. Ruben turned up at our place one Easter after being chased down the road by Magpies. We were unable to find his owner so he moved in. Ruben is a house rabbit, litter trained, who spends a lot of his day on a mat under the coffee table. He has a runway around the back of the lounge and if anything gets in his way he eats it. He may be only little but Ruben Rules. As with the paintings of Myrtle I like how Ruben changes as I got to know him

Ink and coloured pencil drawings

These drawings formed part of an exhibition Steve and I had called 'Life's a Beach - A Journey from the Garden to the Sea'. Each drawing has a unique story. I like the feeling that every piece forms a world of its own with characters that then turn up again and again in my other work, so that taken together the series creates a larger story. A story about being in the sunshine, feeling the sand between your toes, the air sparkling around you and the world full of hope and fun. Even Skippy has been making an appearance in my drawings. Occasionally swamp wallabies come down to the beach in the early mornings at Shelly's, so now they've turned up in my work. I grew up with Skippy and have always felt great affection for her and admiration for her amazing abilities!

Sculptures Series

This is a selection of some of my sculptures. I sculpt in terracotta, big koala goddesses and small strange figures that then live in our bonsais
and gather moss.

Doodles

 

Over a period of 1 or 2 years I drew hundreds of these rounded shapes on any paper I could find and then obsessively shaded them in. I loved them. They've been sitting in a folder under my cupboard for years - nice to get some of them out! pencil on paper.

 

Steve's Sculptures

   

Steve makes earthenware sculptures, using terra sigillata and coloured engobes for decoration. His garden sculptures have a whimsical side and at the moment feature dodos, frogs, lizards and people.

You can also view the majority of Fran's artworks in just one gallery by clicking HERE