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Les Pascoe

My interest in Art began in my early childhood when I started drawing Disney characters in pencils. My parents noticed my interest in art and bought me some oil paints, a palette, and an outdoor easel. This is when my Art journey properly began. I learned painting techniques from Walter T. Foster Art books which covered subjects such as seascapes, landscapes and still life.

On a Sunday after visiting my grandmother, who lived in North Fitzroy, my parents and I went to the Melbourne Museum where I viewed the works of the 'Old Masters' oil paintings displayed in the gallery at that time. I was in awe of the beauty of these paintings. Ordinary suburban life seemed mundane and boring after being introduced to the 'Old Masters' such as Titian, Rueben’s, Rembrandt, and Gainsborough, just to mention a few. Around this time, I also discovered the Dutch painter ‘Johannes Vermeer’ when my sister gave me a book on his life and works.

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'Clivia, Victorian Parliament House Gardens', oil on canvas

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'View of St Patrick's Cathedral steeple from the Victorian Parliament House Gardens', oil on canvas

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'Afternoon light, Walkerville,' oil on canvas

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'Port Campbell,' oil on canvas

My first experience of 'en plein air' painting was when we visited and camped at Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges. The scenery and brilliant colour of these mountain ranges was magnificent. Back home I started to do paintings of flowers, still life’s, some portraits, and landscapes. Painting outdoors captured my heart and at the age of 20 years began to take trips to the countryside. I painted outdoors for a number of years, and I also began to enter Art Shows. 

While painting outdoors on location, I met some interesting people. An unusual incident was when I was painting an old wooden Church in the Dandenong’s. I was unaware at the time that this building was to be demolished and a new one built. While I was painting it, I was approached by a Church member who offered to buy the painting. From that one sale I then had four more commissions from other members of the congregation. I was told that one of the paintings will be placed on display in the new building. It may still be there today.

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'Phoenix in the window,' oil on canvas

I commenced art classes with Bill Caldwell in 1976, where I became acquainted with Pat Moran. We would do ‘paint outs’ together from time to time. At another time I also did art classes with Shirley Bourne for a couple of months. When I look back I feel that these were some of the best times in my life.

I started doing pastel paintings which I really enjoyed. I dabbled in watercolours as well, but I never really enjoyed this medium as much as oil painting. During my 40’s and 50’s I continued to paint but to a lesser extent. I almost stopped painting as the modern world put commitments on me to pursue other things other than art. Around 2004, I started getting back into art more seriously. Firstly, I did coloured pencil copies of some of Vermeer’s paintings and this then motivated me to take up oil painting again. I decided to take classes in 2004 with Gregory R. Smith who encouraged and inspired me to pursue my painting further.

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'Small boat at Docklands,' oil on canvas

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'Billabong in Woodland's Reserve, Greenvale,' oil on canvas

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'Grey day at Whiskey Bay, Wilson's Promontory,' oil on canvas

Now that I have retired from a 9 to 5 job, I paint regularly either outdoors or in my studio at home, which is a work in progress. I consider myself an impressionist painter and enjoy painting landscapes or seascapes and sometimes dabble in something alternative. I love reading Art books, watching YouTube videos about artists, and visiting Galleries to get more ideas and inspiration for my artwork. I have been a member of the Victorian Artists' Society for four years and appreciate the assistance and support they have given me.

Les Pascoe

November 2022

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'Fishing boats at Malta,' oil on canvas


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