Remember Bill? From HERE? Well, I sat and had a chat to him yesterday.
Originally I was all fired up to do some exercise. It was a glorious day but in the thick of it I decided that I just really didn't feel like it. You know those days? 'If it doesn't feel right, don't do it'....that's my philosophy these days. I was pleased to see Bill was out and about, sitting in the sun, eating his cereal. I hadn't seen him in ages.
We chatted about his artwork. He's moved on from his 'French Impressionist' style landscapes to groovy, tribal art, clothing designs.....
..... and beautiful Australian landscapes.
Bill's inspiration for these came from a local Aboriginal women and her stories.
I love his trees. I love their gnarled branches. See the little bird's nest in the branches, in the one above?
Those little dots on the horizon are wildflowers blossoming after the recent rains. The heavy footprints in the foreground are there to show that the land is sodden.
Bill wrote a poem about the wildflowers. He has beautiful handwriting. We discussed some of his poems and the drawings that inspire his poems.
Bill mentioned that he loves Henry Lawson's poetry. He once had a beautiful big book of his poems. He spoke of it with such longing and fondness. He even uses 'Lord Harry' (one of Henry Lawson's favourite books) as his own art moniker. One glance at his shopping trolley, scant with his worldly possessions, and I knew that that book was no more.
I asked Bill if his moods or circumstances influenced his artwork. He said he drew this one day when a few local people's attitudes were getting him down:
It's called 'Empty Vessels'.
Bill showed me some of the photos a local photographer, Lachlan Gardiner, took of him. The sunset in this one is magical. Look how it picks up the yellow in Bill's flowers:
I told him I loved his flowers and how he varied his floral arrangements each day. I told him I was originally drawn, to stop and speak to him, through the blue flower arrangement he had on his table the first day I met him.
He looked this photo out and gave it to me! Because it has my favourite 'Bill floral arrangement' in it! He said he knew I would like it. It's another one taken by Lachlan Gardiner. I will treasure it. It will always remind me of the time I lived in West End and the wonderful locals I met.
As I was leaving, Bill took a deep breath and said, "smell the breeze? There's no pollution in that today. It's fresh, straight from the mountains". He was totally savouring the moment, the sun, the beautiful day, his blessings, my visit. My fingers were totally numb from that 'breeze', the breeze that Bill lives in 24/7. It was cold. And I was going home to a warm shower. Bill wasn't.
Warm from my shower, I couldn't stop thinking about Bill. I wanted to do something nice for him. Something that would last longer than a warm shower. So I hightailed it down to 'Bent Books' in West End, in search of some Henry Lawson poetry for Bill.
I swear you can find anything in that bookstore! Both books are illustrated with the most glorious Pro Hart paintings. Bonus! As Bill does not have a computer, or electricity for that matter, he does not know I am coming armed with his favourite poetry this morning! I hope it brings him some joy.
Someone, please discover Bill and his talents, so he gets famous and gets a warm house to live in. Everyone needs somewhere warm and safe to live.