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Drawn from the Heart. A Memoir by Ron Brooks

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By Ron Brooks

A shiny, looking out memoir of lifestyles, love, and bookmaking by means of a grasp of the paintings of photo books
 
Ron Brooks grew up a rustic boy with a yen for drawing and remark of the existence round him. He turned an said grasp of the picture-book shape, profitable acclaim either nationally and the world over for classics akin to The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek and John Brown, Rose and the hour of darkness Cat via Jenny Wagner—both in print regularly for more than 30 years—and Old Pig and the multi-award-winning Fox through Margaret Wild. but good fortune by no means got here effortless. during this looking memoir he recreates his lifestyles as an artist, husband, and father, with all its twists and turns, soreness and pleasure. alongside the way in which he deals infrequent insights into the "secret" technique of picturemaking and tale shaping. Illustrated with roughs and entire artwork from his best-loved books, this tale of a existence lived intensely in search of fact, love, and beauty is a vintage in its personal right.

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It was a pretty rough school in a lot of ways at the time. The (boysonly) Tech. was seen as ‘the trades school’, less academic than the coeducational high school across the other side of town. It certainly had its share of bullyboys and thugs among the students – there was rough behaviour, the odd spasmodic fight and downright ugly brawl in the schoolyards, just as there were some extremely unpleasant members of the teaching staff – starting with the Principal himself (quite different from the friendly old Headmaster).

I was sad to leave Nanna and Pop. Their house, furniture, garden, and the rhythms and patterns of their life together – all that went, fifteen years later, into John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat, and 20 years later again, into Old Pig. indd 43 M A L L A C O O TA t o M E L B O U R N E [ 43 ] 26/10/10 2:23 PM TJ251-6-2010 IMUK AUS0323 Drawn from the heart W:170mm X H:232mm 150L EX100 W/F Rhodamine/Magenta(v) Cyan Magenta Yellow Black 43 Cyan Magenta Yellow Black TJ251-6-2010 IMUK AUS0323 Drawn from the heart W:170mm X H:232mm 150L EX100 W/F Rhodamine/Magenta(v) 44 Although I felt like a bit of a country bumpkin for a while, I settled in reasonably quickly at Swinburne, found new friends and thoroughly enjoyed my eighteen months there.

All the marks – the brushstrokes themselves, the transparent washes of colour and the more opaque areas, and the daubs, dribbles and splotches of thick paint straight from the tube – all the actual building up of the painting was itself at least as important as, and somehow at one with, the image. Everything was right there, on the surface, on the one picture plane, on the canvas. This, I felt, was what painting is about. His paintings were not mere pictures of things, of scenes – they were incredibly strong, emphatic creations in and of themselves, unbelievably compelling, powerful representations of the landscape, but not needing the scenery itself for any sort of justification.

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