Former teacher shines at Easter

AS EASTER is to the Christian calendar, the 2019 Easter Exhibition is one of the big two events of the year for Denmark’s Mill Art Group.

Dog lover Gail Barker, one of 15 artists whose work will feature at the exhibition, says the paintings she’ll show have a few things in common – including travel themes and the depiction of canines.

Mill Art Group Denmark
Gail Barker with watercolour Morning Greeting and acrylic Homeward Bound
outside the Denmark CRC. Photo: Chris Thomson

“One of the artists in our group, Andy, has made a few comments that you can always find an animal in my pictures,” Barker says.

“So, in these ones I went a bit wilder with the animals.”

Barker, who recently started adding a stylised paw print to the signatures on her paintings, says the ones she’ll exhibit at Easter are “whimsical”.

“I’ve got four in this series, there’s a larger one,” she says, nodding at Homeward Bound, pictured, right.

“And I will have some watercolour bookmarks.”

Barker says acrylic paintings, such as the ones she’ll exhibit at Easter, afford her a degree of freedom.

“With acrylics, I can change, and move things around and I can repaint areas, whereas with watercolours I have to know what I’m painting beforehand,” she explains.

“I had 39 years as a school teacher and, when my sister saw these paintings, she told me I’d gone back to my old style, because it’s painted with a black background and like what I would usually have had on my blackboards.

“If we were working on a novel or something in a class, then I’d usually have pictures of it on the board.”

Leading The Voice of the South on a stroll down memory lane, Barker recalls her first, modest exposure to the world of professional art – in her own primary school days.

“As a kid, I used to make my pocket money doing drawings for other kids and they’d pay me five cents a go, and I’d have enough money to go to the tuck shop,” she smiles.

“Scaling things was something else I could do for kids, if they wanted things scaled, paper dolls and dolls’ clothes.

“I did all that sort of stuff.”

After teaching at Pickering Brook, Beckenham and Kalamunda, Barker spent her last 10 years as a teacher at Spencer Park Primary in Albany.

“Last year, I actually got to go back to Spencer Park as one of the artists in residence for when they were preparing for their kids’ exhibition,” she says.

Hop in to the Mill Art Group’s Easter Exhibition, between 10am and 4pm, from April 12 to 28, at Denmark’s Community Resource Centre.

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