Sole-ful art

Viviana Brocklehurst with her work. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

While it’s a loosely kept secret that Healesville’s resident cobbler, Peter Brocklehurst is a retired singer with several gold records under his belt, but he’s not the only one in the family with a talent in the arts as his wife, Viviana is a soon to be hung emerging artist.

The talented painter’s inaugural exhibition opened on Good Friday at Studio Malka, next door to the Brocklehursts’ shoe repair business.

Painting has been part of Ms Brocklehurt’s life since childhood. A close acquaintance had killed her confidence and it wasn’t until Mr Brocklehurst encouraged her to work through her emotions on canvas that she began to trust her artistic expression.

“To me, Viviana is her canvas,” Mr Brocklehurst said. “When I met her she lacked all self-worth. It had been knocked out of her.

“But my missus has always been an individual and slowly she began to believe in herself and become confident as an artist.”

Ms Brocklehurst, whose creativity is evident in their shop’s rustic paraphernalia, spoke of her talent being stifled.

“As a kid I used to draw all the time. I lost part of myself when someone close to me said I wasn’t talented,” she said.

The exhibition is titled ‘Moods’ because each piece reflects a slice of what Ms Brocklehurst refers to as her “multi-faceted” personality.

“One painting is like living an average day with her,” Mr Brocklehurst said. “You can see sadness, vitality, love, gentleness, passion, her spikiness. Her personality is laid bare in colour and form. She wears both her heart and her art on her sleeve.”

He points to one special canvas in which the ashes of his daughter, Sally, who died from cancer, have been lovingly incorporated into the design.

Ms Brocklehurst said she admires local artists Denise Smith, Di King and Christine Cafarella-Pearce and says Studio Malka is a perfect fit for her first exhibition as owner Esther Steiner is encouraging of the town’s artists; paying them respect by giving them space to display their work.

Moods is on display from 2-18 April at Studio Malka, Healesville.