The story of Ken’s masterpiece.

Let me tell you the story of this painting. It’s a long one.

Back in 1993, we moved shop from down the street to where we traded for another 24 years or so. A friend used to come into the old shop for a regular chat. I knew he was a great artist so asked if he would do a mural on the feature wall of the new shop. His foresight was better than mine and his generosity was even greater. I took him up on his suggestion to do an oil painting of the Yarra River taken from behind the bus sheds in Warburton near Yarra Junction. He spent 6 weeks well into each night, painting this major masterpiece. As he needed the parts to the frame, he asked if we could pay for the frame, which we did. (We did not see the work in progress). Then on day of hanging the work, he said he would have to charge $1 per year. First payment done, no questions. It was on the condition that he be allowed to take it to his art shows which he put on in the valley and nearby. The first time, the office looked so bare we decided to buy it so as not to have the vacant wall on display spasmodically.

Many students from his art class would come into the office just to admire the work, like many of our clients did too.

When we were deciding to move away from the shop a few weeks ago, we wrote to the local shire to offer them first choice on hanging the painting in a public place, as it deserves. We haven’t heard from them. We offered it to the local aged care facility where Ken spent his last few years. No response. We tried a winery restaurant – no response. We offered it to the local church in Warburton. No response. A guy came into the shop two weeks ago and, not knowing why he was in the shop, I asked if he wanted to buy a painting. He responded positively with “how much?” I said “twenty-seven fifty”. “It’s a deal” and placed $30 on the table. (I thought he was paying a deposit with the rest of the

money to come on pickup day the next week.) It would be hung in a restaurant in the Valley. The next week I called the guy to ask when and how he was going to pay the balance and he said he had payed for it. He thought I was meaning $27.50 not $2750. The confusion meant the sale didn’t take place.

Lyn’s response was “bring it home and hang it in the family room”. So today, with help of kind Alan Hall, we brought it to its rightful place, we believe, and have it at home to enjoy for many a day in the future. Thanks Ken Mead – your masterpiece is our blessing in our home now.

Author: @colinspain

The Official Blogger for Grey Nomads Travel and Cruise Group Tours

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