A man of colour

The walls of my grandparents house used to be covered in vibrant, colourful paintings. Many of them were created by my grandfather, Walter, who began to draw when he was a teenager in Germany.

He and my grandmother used to gain much pleasure from attending art classes in Australia, once their children had grown up and left the nest. They learnt all sorts of techniques - dabbing, scratching, inking, blobbing - and they painted all sorts of things - mountains, self portraits, lakes, flowers. The one thing that was a common thread in all of Walter's creations was the use of colour.

Walter now resides in a nursing home in Sydney. He is 96 and in the past year he has declined rapidly. These days he just sits staring at the wall, not saying much. If he does talk, it's mostly about being tired of life - so much so that a few months ago, on his birthday, he asked my mother whether the wooden coffee table in the nursing home common room was his coffin. He was disappointed when she explained that it was just a table.

As he waits for the 'light at the end of the tunnel', I wondered if there was a way of bringing some colour into the darkness of his days....



  1. Hi Ange, thank you for a lovely story about your grandfather and his art. I hope he got to do some painting, that's a wonderful idea!!! Have you seen this film about Hy Snell? Here is the link http://vimeo.com/69394786
    I would have liked to see your sister's film but it was private - is there somewhere else I can see it? Cheers, Fiona Claire ( I fan-girled you once, years ago ;) )

  2. Hey Fiona! Only just saw this comment...sorry! Thanks for that link...I absolutely LOVED Hy's story. What a man! And, if you're still after the youtube link to my grandfather's video - here it is - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqGfuGbzkew


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