Art with a velvet touch
A COONARR painter has opened his own art gallery in the small beachside settlement in a bid to sell his artwork.
Artist George Papp opened the gallery in the garage of his home for the first time on Sunday.
He said he planned to open the gallery between 10am and 2pm every second Sunday to entice people to view and buy his works.
Mr Papp, who was born in Budapest in 1934, said this venture was completely new to him.
"I've been in Australia for 65 years, and I've never done anything like this before," he said.
"I thought I'd give it a try."
Mr Papp said as far as he knew, he was the only artist who painted on black velvet.
He said portraits of humans and pets were a speciality, and families in particular often wanted him to paint a portrait of their pets as a memento.
"I also do a lot of landscapes," he said.
"I paint what I see; there are no fantasies."
Mr Papp said he was a self-taught painter, who learned his art at the end of the Second World War.
"At the end of the war there was nothing else to do," he said.
Mr Papp, a toolmaker by trade, said art supplies were limited at the end of the war, so he started out by drawing portraits in black and white.
"In the mid-'40s there were no colour films or enlarging equipment and I got well paid for black and white photo enlargements," he said.
After his family moved to Australia in 1957, he learned to paint on silk using watercolours until the silk he used was no longer imported.
He then turned his hand to black velvet, and eventually perfected a technique that gave him good results.
"My dream is to enter the Archibald Prize, but circumstances have not allowed me to do so in the past," he said.
He said painting still gave him peace and pleasure.
Mr Papp's art gallery can be viewed at 3 Oak Ave, Coonarr.