Peninsula Essence July 2018

Page 40

Learning A LIFE OF

By Melissa Walsh Photos Gary Sissons


ith looks like a mature Daniel Craig and a twinkle in his eye, local artist Eric Shepherd is still producing diverse works of art, from portraits to wildlife and landscapes, even in his 80’s. Peninsula Essence talks to the Mt Martha painter about his life of art and adventure, and the secret behind his youthful attitude.

“I started my working life as a sign painter, learning the ropes at a young age. In those days we had to learn the skill of creating colours and special effects, like painting the top of tables to look like they are timber,” he explained.

“Art is a lifelong process of learning,” Shepherd says as we sit in his home surrounded by decades of his work. “In my younger days I had to learn not just surface preparation and colour mixing but to paint everything, from sign writing, travelling amusement rides, gold leaf application and mural work, and I'm still learning.”

“We spent a lot of time in nature where I used to love to watch birds for hours,” he says with a laugh. “They fascinate me; you sit and look at the bird and how it operates. You look at a little bird and you can become part of it in your soul. I also paint animals, elephants, lions, and have a real affiliation with animals. I can’t stand cruelty to animals, or seeing animals being slaughtered, and have a spiritual affiliation with birds and animals.”

Best known for his birds and wildlife art, Shepherd says starting out in the sign-painting industry was just what he needed to help develop a solid skill set.

E ssence


July 2018

His love of birds and wildlife started early, growing up in country England where Shepherd would spend plenty of time outdoors.

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