Biography of Anne Newman as an artist

As a genre painter I seek to depict everyday people in typical scenes at home, at work and at play.
Although I enjoy painting in several different styles I see myself predominantly as a genre painter following the school of the 16th and 17th Century Flemish and Dutch artists who created paintings that dealt with unidealized scenes and subjects of everyday life. Genre painting was popularised in the 1500s by Pieter Bruegel, the elder and I like to think some of my paintings, such as The Valley, contain a tinge of Bruegel. Genre painting flourished in Holland in the 17th century especially in the works of artists such as De Hooch, Vermeer and Holbein.
In my paintings I endeavour to create a scene that invites the viewer to engage in the composition: often to take part in a journey or be part of a story. The emotional response I aim to evoke is usually one of humour or peace and often I strive to ‘entertain’ my audience. Sometimes a painting might invite the viewer to explore a scene that has been created from my memories of growing up in Central Victoria or from my constant observations of everyday life in rural and urban Australian communities.
I was born and raised in the gold mining city of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. It was here that my love affair with red bricks and weatherboards started: Bendigo Secrets and Gold Dust are still my favourite renditions of this part of my world. I enjoy exploring backyards and lanes as represented by Watching the Cabbages Grow, The Morning Newsand Barney Glade and his Contentments. Many of my paintings capture a moment from the European heritage from which many of us stem. This might be the last few resilient hollyhocks guarding the miner’s cottage as in Tyquin House, Taradale, Victoria; a snippet of life from an ancestral country as in English Landscape: Malmesbury, Wiltshire or the intricate aging of an Italian or Croatian wall recreated from my travels ( San Gimignamo or Tuscan Steps). However, to me one of the most beautiful compositions in life is the interplay between grasses against a red brick wall or fading white weatherboards; or red clinker bricks snuggled against their sturdy bluestone cousins. I aim to preserve through my interpretation, significant icons of Australian life: may the Aussie backyard live forever. May you journey down many lanes and may you take the time to admire the beauty in a piece of grass or the magnificence of a drop of dew as recreated in The Fence Post.
Art is a living craft and therefore I seek to make my paintings live: to tell a story. I now live in Melbourne which is a wonderful multi-cultural community. I enjoy the wonderful diverse nature of our culture, the humour of the Australian people, the pathos and the narratives that weave through their lives (as depicted in Burbank Christmas Party, Dockland Developments or Night Developments). Scenes of people engaged in everyday activities are meant to give each of us a moment to reflect and to enjoy.
Ironically, my artistic hero is Lawrence S. Lowry, who painted dark and sombre scenes from the industrial city of Manchester, England. Even though my paintings aim to be bright and alive, I have learnt a great deal from Lowry about ‘recreating’ people so that they appear to the observer to be comfortably living in the environment that I, as their story teller, have created. Thank you for taking time to be part of my artistic journey.