I approach all of my paintings the same way. I pull out my little purple art sketch book and play with different colour combinations. I do this to help focus my mind and also try, as best as I can, choose which paint colour combinations will best match my reference image. Normally this is a pretty easy process. I place various blues, reds, and yellows (and some Titanium White) on my palette and mix away. However, this painting that I was about to embark on was no ordinary painting. As a result, doing this colour swatch was the hardest I have ever completed. After much procrastination I sat down and laid out my paints on my palette. Before my paintbrush had even touched a lick of paint tears fell from my eyes. Why would a colour swatch evoke such deep emotions? Well, this painting is deeply personal, it’s of my Late Nana.
I was commissioned by my mother to paint this portrait to complete a set. Previously some 14-15 years ago I painted a portrait of my Pop, Douglas Hayman (Doug). The Wheelbarrow Maker, as the portrait is known (https://livingmoments.studio/portfolio/the-wheelbarrow-maker/), proudly sits on my mother’s loungeroom wall. This painting of my Nana has been designed to complement this painting and sit alongside it.
Let me introduce you to my Late Nana, Florence Grace Hayman (Flo):
Flo and Doug had 5 children over a 16 year period. This long period with young children/teens meant that they had school aged children for 35 years. As was the case with many in her life-time, Flo was a full time dedicated mother. There isn’t much else that I can tell you about this time though (well not first-hand), as her grandchild, my memories of her don’t start until… well when her children had children.
My Nana was proudly blessed with 22 grandchildren and many, many great-grandchildren. Perhaps my most treasured memories of her is how she loved family and adored babies. She delighted in the news of all of us grandchildren. As my siblings, cousins and I had our children her delight never dimmed. Nana wasn’t a loud boisterous person. I guess you could say she was a person who was mostly in the background. However, despite her modesty and insistence that you weren’t allowed in her kitchen, she was an enormously bright light that we all saw and adored. I can still remember her distinct laugh, as she giggled with delight at the funny antics of her family and the twang of her East-Coast Wollongong accent.
As Doug and Flo’s family moved to various parts of Australia, the family organised regular reunions at various campsites throughout New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. These holidays started in 1985 at Echuca and continued until recently this year (January 2022). This years reunion, unfortunately, was our first ever without her. For Flo, being so family orientated, these reunions were a highlight of her life. This portrait of Flo is a captured moment from one of these very family reunions. Here she is sitting on the bank of the lake at Cave Hill Creek (near Beaufort, Victoria) delighting in her family.