KEN DONE BOOK GIVEAWAY: The iconic artist's life in colour
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IN THE 1980s Ken Done came to town and everyone invited him home.
He stepped inside with abstract images, a rich, vibrant palette and presented his celebration of colour on mugs, doonas, curtains and cushions. We wore his signature dresses, t-shirts and swimmers. We drank with Ken Done cups, we wore Ken Done clothes and we slept with Ken Done quilts.
Here was a man who sensed the Australia that we felt - the heat of the yellow sun, the rich blue wash of the Pacific ocean. He caught the vibration of native animals and reflected back to us the perfumed colour of our favourite flora.
He was talking to all of us who loved and lived on the Australian coastline.
Forty years after connecting beach loving Australians with their sun soaked coastline, artist Ken Done is taking us to the polar opposite - Antarctica.
Inspired by a trip last year to the ice-riven landscape, he has recently completed a series of 30 paintings, Paintings from Antarctica. From the man who so skilfully interpreted the intensity of the Australian sun, the show presents his unique expression of a dramatically different continent.
Yet, home is where his heart remains. At 76 years old, Ken Done's inner artist is still fed by the surrounding beauty of his Chinaman's Bay property along with the bigger picture of Sydney and regular world travels.
His long-term home and 35-year-old marriage to Judy proves that very early on, Ken realised the elements of sustainable joy.
"Judy are I are like-minded," he said.
"And we have a shared visual understanding.
"But in 50 years there are hills and valleys, and you just have to find way to get through them."
The couple also share two children and to their great delight, three grandchildren.
Ken said a great happiness came from having his grandchildren in the art studio.
He sets up the studio before their arrival and then it's a time for fun and freedom.
In fact, the youngest has coined him the "Fundad".
This year, Ken wrote his memoir A Life Coloured In and recalled his own years as young artist and how he used it to express his himself.
"Being a before TV child," he wrote, "I used drawings all the time to communicate what I felt about something."
He keeps fit with daily swims and a dally in the fresh air as he feeds the local parrots.
He doesn't mind a game golf but admits to falling asleep watching television.
This year he is preparing for a trip to islands off Scotland and he is looking forward to making more memories.
"You can't look back for a second," he said.
"People around my age can still have a lifetime ahead of them."