Michael John Bateman, 50 something, blood-sucking lawyer, art aficionado, bibliophile and fan of the floating world of Newcastle East; lost in wonder.
I am caught in a current. You can swim or paddle against it but that makes no difference at all. I like drawing. I have always enjoyed drawing. I have to draw. I draw and paint because I have to. It can be a real nuisance. Sunny day beach calling, but I bring my watercolours. What’s the wierdo doing…? You get the picture, I’m drawing it. I will probably become like Hokusai - an old man mad with drawing and philosophical about smarty pants comments.
Drawing is the foundation of good painting. Good painting is a celebration of colour and tone, light and shade.
From mid 70’s I was a perennial night student at TAFE, Newcastle Art School. Thanks to Bruce Rowland, Jill Orr, Ruth Chapman, Ted Prior, Ed Rush and John Turier, -why are there so many great artists in this salty town? – I have gained a feeling for going with the current and enjoying the ride.
I have received various Diplomas of Art in Life Drawing and Painting from TAFE as a part-time student since 1978 until 2003.After that I became a member of the group of amateur painters that is now the 7 Painters. We have exhibited at Intrados or at John Paynter Gallery each year since then
I could not object to the label, "amateur". Meaning " lover", "fan". Because I have other loves and demands on my time, my art must be part-time, but in the painting group " 7 Painters" one can be a disciple, in the sense that we all are committed to continuous learning. We are all part-time in that sense, but we share a studio that we rent full-time. You can go there any time of day or night to scratch the painting itch.
We hold an exhibition of works at least annually because we all believe that it is important to see works up on walls in the public gaze. This represents a tangible display of the fruits of our weekly labours and discussions It is a very valuable activity for all of us. Unless you can share your work it is of little value. Newcastle is a great town to have an exhibition, There is genuine interest from al sorts of people and very little pretence or superciliousness from the made artists that come to look (and we are delighted that they do).
My approach is representational and I am just enchanted with colour.
My influences are local, the great teachers I have mentioned above and the pantheon of colourists from mediaeval illuminists, El Greco onwards. I particularly admire Vincent Van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Justin O’Brien, Jeffrey Smart, Margaret Olley and Henri Matisse.
I am very lucky to live in salty Newcastle East with so many wonderful subjects being at my front door, including the harbour, beaches, buildings old and new and the vast untamed bush and seascape of Stockton Bight just across the river. The river is still the lifeblood of the city.
When you float on the world you are carried along by it, become part of it and cannot fail to respond to its pull. To be able to celebrate this joy of connection and understanding in good works of art is a lifelong and satisfying obsession.