An inquisitive mind led to unique new art style
HIS painting styles and subjects are unique and diverse, including spawning coral, winter to summer, red bream and floral.
Patrick Smith calls himself "the reluctant artist" but a more accurate label could be "the left-field artist".
Patrick has had no art training, paints without a paint brush, and is always searching for new ways to achieve the effects he is looking for.
"You know why I don't use brushes ... because I'm no bloody good at it!" he quipped.
He keeps a notebook beside his bed to write down the "weird ideas I dream up at night".
That includes using a hairdryer, balloons, string dipped in paint, a toothbrush, spatula and straws.
No one is perhaps more surprised by the effect his art has than Patrick himself.
"I haven't a clue where this art comes from, but it's a challenge to my mind to work out how to do what I want to do," the Killarney Vale resident said.
"My techniques grow as I look around and think how I can use different things."
At last year's Tuggerah Lakes Art Society AGM, he was told he had them "on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what I would produce next".
That encouraged him to show his pieces to The Art House, Wyong, co-ordinators.
He was hopeful of "displaying a few pieces", but when he jokingly said he could fill the gallery if they wanted him to, it was agreed that's exactly what he would do.
His first exhibition runs from June 12-28.
At almost 69, Patrick describes himself as "just an old tradie and a mad fisherman who has been doing art for about 15 years".
It all started when he saw a painting with a $6000 price tag in a gallery and told his wife, "I can do that".
He went home and, although it took a time to work out just how to do it, he did, and the piece hangs in his house to this day.
Most of his art, Patrick said, was "a reflection of some part of my life", including as a builder using big bright designs and, as a fisherman, detail and inspiration from underwater life and nature.
"I'm very shy about this, but people's jaws drop when they see what I do," he said.
"I've been told not to say it's weird, to say it's abstract or different."
With a building and electrical background, Patrick began by experimenting with acrylic on plaster, playing with shadows and textures, before he discovered "fluid art".
Also known as "liquid art" it creates abstract designs from the pouring and movement of paint around the canvas.
In Patrick's case, many of the designs take on a delicacy and intricacy the viewer can't imagine being achieved without fine brushstrokes.
He admits that not all his ideas work, and he has "hosed a few off on the front garden".
But even some that didn't come out quite how he imagined, he said, often turned into something "even better".
"I don't class myself as a real artist, just someone who plays with coloured paints," he said.
"What I do isn't that hard, but it does take imagination."
He doesn't have any firm plans for his art, preferring to wait and gauge people's reactions at his first exhibition.
"'OMG!' seems to come out quite regularly," Patrick said of the feedback he had received to date.
"It gives me hope and heart to keep going ..."
Art House: 19-21 Margaret St, Wyong, NSW 2259
Phone: (02) 4335 1485