February 6th, 2021Artist Dorothy Enders keen to hang work
Its very first gathering was on Tuesday, March 29, 1977 with the first teacher Geoffrey Sayer from Castlemaine. Just over a month later, in May 1977, they had their first exhibition at the library during the Kyneton Daffodil Festival. Complete with a wine and cheese opening in the supper room at the shire hall, the paintings were lined up on trestle tables, while others were pinned on a line of clothes hooks along one wall. One painting by Shirley Wakefield was sold. The title: Dingo and Pups.
Dorothy Enders was at that first exhibition. Today she is in her 80s, is the longest serving member of the Kyneton Art Group and continues to attend the Tuesday sessions. She remembers well the circumstances that led to the group’s forming.
“I decided to get some lessons in painting and went to evening classes at the high school,” Dorothy says. “The classes were held in one of the portables and it was freezing so some of us decided to start an afternoon painting group. We broke off from the evening art classes and one of our members was associated with the Presbyterian Church and knew the Sunday School hall was available to rent. That’s where the group started.”
Dorothy was originally from West Footscray and had been active in artistic creativity since childhood. Her first career was as a draughtswoman, although she would say “tracer”, at an engineering firm in Melbourne before getting married and relocating to Tylden and later Kyneton, where she raised two children.
“I married a man and I did what I was supposed to do; have children and look after him. I didn’t have a chance to do anything creative until I started painting again in 1970. Then my brother asked if I would do him a painting. So I thought ‘I will have a go at this’ and it worked. It was a night scene, all in Prussian blue with a little bit of white here and there. I still have the painting, it needs reframing but I’ll hang onto it. I think I will get them to bury it with me.”
Dorothy paints a range of subjects from flowers to landscape studies, but she has a particular interest in architecture, especially the array of historic bluestone buildings scattered around the town. In fact Dorothy likes to think that by documenting these old structures over the years, she has helped to preserve them for future generations. And while Dorothy says she technically retired in 1992, other members said she had to keep coming along.
“I’m not a teacher but if they want me to help with a line or two, I’ve got a pretty keen eye and I can sort of guide them in the right direction.”
Like everything else the Kyneton Art Group was disrupted by the circumstances of the past year. For the first time in over 40 years they were unable to hold their yearly exhibition, a show which normally coincides with the Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival in September. However their display will return this year and Dorothy’s name will be on the room sheet.
“I still have some old paintings here that no-one has ever seen, which I’ve hung onto. I just have to get them framed and they will go into the show.” She adds: “I’m a terrible hoarder.”
Words: Tony Sawrey | Image: David White