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Artful Lodger goes solo

Monday, Sep 9, 2013

Artist and Eldercare resident Paula Hancock says her love of art has added "10 or 20 years" to her life.

Paula, 84, who also happens to be the mother of Real Estate identity Michael Brock, will hold her first solo art exhibition at The Lodge on October 26, with the aim to ‘clear the decks and start all over again’.

Paula is no stranger to the art world, having picked up her first paintbrush about 30 years ago, and then joined a group of like-minded aspiring artists known as the Brigalow Art Group.

A prolific painter, Paula says she never runs out of inspiration, spending her days surrounded by several paintings on-the-go, and armed with a sense of excitement at what will emerge on the blank canvas in front of her.

“I might start off painting one thing and finish up with something else,” she says.

When asked where she gets her inspiration from, she quips: ‘My husbands’, although she then adds, a little more seriously, that she paints ‘everything’ - from memories, postcards or places she’s visited.

While this ‘artful lodger’s’ solo exhibition will be a dignified affair, Paula recalls with mirth the Brigalow Art Group’s first exhibition, which she gleefully describes as ‘an absolute fiasco’.

“It was the 1970s and after about a year of painting together the teacher suggested we could hold an exhibition.

“We got terribly excited. We sent out 1200 invitations to a cocktail party and, surprisingly, 1100 people came. We had wine and chicken sandwiches and we ran out of everything. In the end we were running to pubs or delis – absolutely anywhere to find supplies. ”

Paula says the inspiration for her solo exhibition came after Lifestyle Coordinator Roz Hamilton suggested they sell Paula’s paintings at an exhibition at The Lodge.

“She said: ‘We can make anything possible’.  And with that she put another paint brush in my hand. It wasn’t a subtle hint,” Paula says wryly.

According to Roz, Paula’s exhibition is a celebration of the talents of older people  and being inspired to continue with their interests.

“Embracing Paula’s celebration of art and life is what we do here at The Lodge. Older people don’t just sit in their rooms. They have lots of wonderfully colourful history to share.

“We hope to dispel the myth of ageing, and show that life is still a challenge. We may be a little slower and different, but it’s still part of the journey - people just have to adapt to the circumstances.”

“Paula is such a positive person here at The Lodge. The other residents look up to her because of her bright, outgoing personality and sense of humour – she’s inspirational,” says Roz.

 “I’m going down kicking!” adds Paula.