#Lookatglenhuntly is a series of ink and watercolour work on paper currently up at The Bar Royal as part of the Walkabout Glen Huntly street photography exhibition.
Most of these pieces have been done on location using an ink brush pen, or if I had the patience, a bottle of ink and a sable brush. The sable brush is the most effective way to work but it isn't always practical when out of the studio.
I painted on location at Platform 3 on Glen Huntly station looking toward Platform 2 over a couple of days last week.
Others I did from the table inside my studio on Glen Huntly Rd. which looks onto the street and the Royal Avenue corner. I look for interesting and fleeting moments of being.
I have asked myself why... why is there an urge to observe and record. What is the point and what does one get from the process of either drawing or painting people going about their daily lives.
For my part, I find it is a way to slow things down, to distill 'micro-moments' of existence, perhaps, to see what they do look like....it is an extension beyond the ordinary.
In looking at these fleeting moments, quite often, the surprising hits upon you, compelling the artist in me, to stay and look further or deeper. Surprising moments in colour, shape, and human drama; surprising for the moments of touching beauty, banal mundanity, intriguing transactions or for just delighting in the comedy of human theatre in the public space.
Much can happen.
Glen Huntly, the suburb, is a space whose urban facade has changed rapidly in a relatively short period of time. As a local moving into the area 20 years ago the nature of the businesses and the pedestrian life has undergone considerable change.
My neighbour Vera, who only recently died, grew up in the area from the early 1920's often remarked that for a long period of time this shopping strip had "everything you could ever need". There was no need to travel to another shopping strip , or mall, to get items needed for daily life...be it groceries, smallgoods, hardware, children clothes, ladies wear, theatre...Glen Huntly had it all.
The theatre was a popular spot for Vera and her friends on Saturday afternoons when she was a young girl; It was located on the site of our Safeway supermarket. For a number of years in the late 1950,s Vera and her husband also ran a business selling jewellery, clock making and in providing watchrepairs.
By the time I settled in the late 1990's change was underway. However, Glen Huntly still had two green grocers ( one on both sides of the railway line), one butcher, Clarke's (or Nick's as we called it), a haberdashery store (a long skinny shop jam packed with bags of wool, cotton needles etc), a hardware store, two cake shops, three chemists, a fish and chippery and a smattering of antique stores, to name just a few notables.
The only cafe at this time was Charlotte's, the French Patisserie. Nancy and Sharon worked the counter serving delectable chocolate eclairs, lattes and babychinos for the kids.
Today, our shopping centre is without a stand alone greengrocer, nor is there a haberdashery, nor hardware store. Op shops and brotherhoods have replaced the antique dealers, and a tobacco business occupies the jewellery store that my neighbour Vera once ran (a shopfront just down from where Woodards is now).
But we do have a Hallal butcher, several Indian and Chinese grocery stores, multicultural restaurants, many cafes and a brilliant new playground within our midst.
The council seems to be more open in their approach to enhancing our locality and there is an ongoing discussion regarding the level crossing. Traffic, or the delays to the flow of traffic due to the crossing are a significant impediment to vehicular movement in the strip.
Pedestrian life is always evolving and with societal issues such as drugs and homelessness, Glen Huntly is not immune to the travesties of life. But with the recent waves of migration and the influx of new residents settling in our suburb to work, study or live, our strip is also seeing new faces full of hope and anticipation for lives just beginning.
Today in Glen Huntly we have rich and diverse community adding depth and a great splash of colour to what I would term 'the Look of Melbourne'.
It is a suburb that epitomises Melbourne's rapidly increasing population and shifting cultural demographic.