Memories of a keen local artist

Experience the colour and wonder of the Collie landscape through a delightful collection of works by the late Tony Bell, well known around Collie as a talented artist and keen arts enthusiast, lovingly curated by his wife, Maxine.

Born in London, Tony joined the army as a young boy, completing an apprenticeship and retiring after 12 years’ service as a Sergeant. He then went on to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), mapping the moon with the Lunar Orbiter, which prompted moving with his family to Woomera, South Australia.

Artistic ability obviously runs in Tony’s family, as both his father and grandfather were keen artists. Tony also picked up techniques through step-by-step illustrations in books.

Tony dabbled with art during his time in Woomera, painting commissions for other English folks of their childhood homes.

Many years later, Tony began work at Muja Power Station in Collie, where he fell in love with the forests and began painting the lovely South West landscapes.

Tony found the lush South West forests a stark contrast to the deserts of Woomera, and it was there that his work dramatically improved.

After some experimentation with acrylics, Tony found his medium of choice in Australian Archival Oils around 2004. He would paint mainly from photographs, at times working up a base drawing from a series of images.

“It was intriguing for me to see his works evolve, from the preparation to the good drawing as a base, and through the various layers as the painting was finally completed,” said Maxine.

The bulk of Tony’s work was in landscapes, although he did complete some seascapes and a few still life works.

He was always kind to the young folk around him, encouraging them to draw and try painting. Tony and Maxine’s children are artistic in their own ways and encourage their children to follow their dreams and see what they could achieve.

Tony Bell died from cancer 29 August 2009.

Tony’s wife Maxine is very grateful to the many people who have loaned paintings purchased many years ago in order to allow them to be displayed in this retrospective exhibition.

“After waiting more than 20 years for this gallery in Collie to finally come to reality, I am sure Tony would have been very proud to see his works on display in this top-class gallery,” she said.

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