Painter Tim Snowdon has dipped his brush in many different genres over time: still life, landscape, contemporary, traditional, portraiture – and houses.
He doesn’t paint pictures of houses, he paints houses. Literally. And it was this skill, as a tradie, that brought him to this point in his career – an acclaimed artist whose solo exhibition, Conversations, opens at Bungendore’s Suki and Hugh Gallery this Saturday, 22 October.
It’s all about connections, according to Tim, who studied art in Canberra and Sydney before travelling to Paris, London and New York to further his skills.
The connections start in Bungendore, where he has lived with his family for about 20 years. From those early days, he was the bloke to go to if your house needed painting or decorating. So, back in 2015 when photographers Susan Foxlee and Sam Cooper were looking for a spot to set up a home business, fate saw them buy the block next to Tim. And of course Tim was the bloke who painted their house – and they became friends.
Today, that property is the Suki and Hugh Gallery – and home to Susan, Sam and their daughters, Annalise, 7, and Olivia, 10.
The small boutique gallery in the main street of the village has since developed a reputation for innovative exhibitions, regularly showcasing the best of our regional artists and creatives from around the country.
“When we started here, we were like two bunnies in the headlights,” Susan said.
“We didn’t know what we were doing but it has really evolved since then. We’ve had wonderful support from artists which is really important when you’re a new gallery.”
Since they’ve opened, the gallery has staged more than 50 exhibitions, attracting visitors from interstate and locally.
It’s also the place where, from this weekend, more than 20 pieces of Tim’s work will go on exhibition.
Conversations refers to the way Tim’s paintings of inanimate objects “speak to” each other in still life compositions and how they can appear to take on life of their own.
Best known for his still life oil paintings, Tim said he loved a challenge, often using items ranging from pieces of fruit to crockery, draped fabric to glass bottles to tell a story in his artistic arrangements.
Susan said one of the most contemporary works in the exhibition was a painting of a paper bag sitting with pears and loose leaves – “it’s as though they were all invited to the same party where no-one knew each other but somehow, they get along”.
Another image is of three blue-and-white-striped cups, surrounded by blossoms, which Tim said was a challenging work “because it was so hard to get it all exactly straight”.
The artist said his work was greatly imspired by where he lived. He had spent a lot of time in Sydney but wasn’t a fan. So when he returned from overseas, Tim looked further afield, hoping to find somewhere that would make him feel more at home as an artist – and let him earn a living to pay for his passion.
Tim grew up in Narrendera, in the Riverina region, so was keen to return to rural life.
“When we came to Bungendore it had a really good vibe,” he said. “You could see it was a growing, vibrant community. It hasn’t changed much since then. The trees, the hills and the sky are the same – there are just more houses. But it really is beautiful country.
“This place is my inspiration to paint. My passion would be landscapes – you can’t beat the ambience of the bush.”
Conversations opens at Suki and Hugh Gallery, Bungendore from Saturday, 22 October and runs until 27 November, 2022. The gallery is open from 10 am to 2 pm on Thursday and Friday and from 10 am to 4 pm at the weekends.
More information is available on the website.