Marchant has been living the dream

Bundeena artist Bob Marchant first picked up a paintbrush at the age of 40.

He had just returned to Australia after 20 years in Britain and was bedazzled by colours he saw out of the window of his plane as he flew over outback Australia.

“When I got off the aeroplane I decided I wanted to be painter and asked my taxi driver to take me to the nearest art store in Sydney," he said.

The driver took him to Parkers Fine Arts where Mr Marchant had asked for a lot of red and blue paint.

“I hadn’t seen reds or blues in England for 20 years,” he said.

The colours he saw out of the window have stayed with him more than 40 years later and his love and characteristic use of colour can been seen right through his many collections.

Mr Marchant’s art career flourished when he won The Sulman Prize twice, in consecutive years at The Gallery of NSW. The first judged by Margaret Olley, the second by John Olsen.

His body of work also includes the wall of dolphins that adorn the sound barriers on the Princes Highway at Sutherland.

Bob Marchant in 1998 with his wall of dolphins that adorn the sound barriers on the Princes Highway at Sutherland. Picture: Peter Rae

Bob Marchant in 1998 with his wall of dolphins that adorn the sound barriers on the Princes Highway at Sutherland. Picture: Peter Rae

Mr Marchant’s latest exhibition –  “Living the Dream” – will open at The Australian Galleries in Paddington on May 15.

The exhibition coincides with his 80th birthday and will feature paintings produced in the last five years

There will also be rare paintings from earlier periods of his life, acting as a retrospective of his 40-year career. 

Marchant says he has another 10 years of paintings to complete before he turns 90 and hangs up the brushes.

He explains what drives him forward is he’s never forgotten the advice his art teacher gave him: ‘‘Life is short .… art is long.’’

  • Details: bobmarchantart.net