Patricia Giles, painter
The waking dream of art
Born in Hobart in 1932, always loving drawing and painting, Patricia had a term at Art School aged seventeen, but had to leave to earn a living as a seceretary. She attended night classes, and in 1961 was able to give up boring secretarial work and open Hobart’s first commercial art gallery.
This opened the world of art and artists to her – especially when Max Angus, already a well-known painter, asked her to join his Sunday painting group. They painted and exhibited together for the next sixty years, becoming famous as Tasmania’s foremost watercolour landscape painters.
Patricia particularly loved painting untouched, wild bush with no sign of human activity. Many of her best paintings show the mountains, plains and buttongrass of the south-west (as in the book’s cover), or the beaches, rocks and waves of the east coast.
The painters were appalled when beautiful Lake Pedder was to be drowned for a hydro-eletric scheme. They fought to save the lake by painting it and holding exhibitions to bring its beauty to a wider audience. They failed, but continued to support Lake Pedder, joining the movement to drain it in the 1990s.
Patricia never wanted to do anything but paint. She did not aim for fame or accolades; she did not worry about money, happy to live on the smell of an oily rag; painting was her life. She painted in oils, acrylics and pastels as well as watercolour, and produced portraits, abstracts, still lifes and drawings as well as landscapes. This book has examples of all her work, starting with her earliest production, a Christmas calendar for her mother made when she was nine. Favourites of the author, the designer and the photographer – and of course Patricia herself – had to be included. Now readers can choose their own favourite Patricia Giles work.