NEWCASTLE painter Malcolm Sands has always had the “creative urge”.
In childhood that was expressed through model aircraft and diorama making.
“I was right into super-detailing,” he said. “I should probably have become a sculptor.”
It was not until the mid-1990s that he began to make visual art. It was after discovering Anne Von Bertouch gallery.
“Who can’t fall in love with Anne Von Bertouch?” Sands said. “It didn’t take me long to realise … I felt the need to do something.”
Inspired, he took a couple of art courses before enrolling in fine arts at Newcastle Art School (TAFE).
When the three year course was cut short, due to a lack of enrollments, the students went it alone.
“We formed a group and over a period of time that group became The Seven Painters,” Sands said.
“We continued to paint together, on Tuesday nights, since 2001.”
The artists worked from the one studio at the Parry Street Community Arts Centre until its eviction last year. They now share another space at the new arts centre in Chinchen Street, Islington.
Together they have held group exhibitions each year until 2016.
“It has been an impetus to create works and have exhibitions,” he said.
Sands has also developed his own art practice separate to the group. He works from a home studio.
“I have been in a lot of group shows and started to enter art prizes,” he said.
Sands makes works about the things that are meaningful to him.
“A lot of my art practice is connected to land and landscapes,” he said. “The last few years I have concentrated on land-forms along the Bylong Valley Way.
“The rocks … those land-forms are so ancient and monumental, you feel like you are driving through a cathedral.
“I have been painting those for three years.”
For the past 12 months he has attended Peter Lankas’ life drawing classes and figurative elements are “starting to creep” into the works.
A self portrait Sands has entered in the Kilgour Art Prize, titled Boy With Glasses 1968, is painted from a family portrait captured on a road trip to Goulburn.
“We got glasses given to us for a Christmas present,” Sands said. “It’s me and my sisters standing there looking rather awkward.
“I remembered it so clearly … It was the awkwardness of being a boy.”
Sands will be in a group exhibition with Linda Greedy, Michelle Teear, Sally Reynolds, James Murphy, Catherine Tempest and Jane Richens at Gallery 139 from June 14-July 1.