LUCKY for Gympie that Jeff Douwes was encouraged to draw and paint when he was a child.
Unlike some parents who encourage creative children to concentrate on their maths instead, Jeff's father strongly supported his artistic merit, giving him tips on drawing that he still uses today. These will will be on show in Jeff's first solo exhibition in 2012 at the Gympie regional Gallery.
Jeff Douwes has been one of The Gympie Times' cartoonists for the past 14 years. He is part of a team of journalists who get together each week to focus on a story and gather ideas for the cartoons. Jeff draws in The Gympie Times office so he can get feedback on his cartoons and small details can be checked along the way. Jeff has been deeply involved in the local community not just as a cartoonist, but as an artist, tutor, mentor, and active citizen.
His exhibition, Jeff Douwes' Retrospective: Painting the Story, will be on show at the Gympie Regional Gallery from January 3-28. The retrospective dates from the early 1980s and showcases paintings in oil and acrylic, rather than cartoon drawings. Each painting possesses an underlying message or tells a story of some kind, with over half of them for sale.
Jeff is no stranger to the Gympie Regional Gallery. He has entered many of the Gallery's art competitions, tutors some of the Gallery's school holiday workshops and participates in the Gallery's birthday celebrations each year by drawing quick and quirky caricatures for visitors. As he draws, he looks for the person's character by judging the distances between the features such as eyes and nose or the length of the mouth to get their likeness.
When asked how he learnt to make cartoon drawings, Jeff replied that he "used to draw Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble in his maths book when I was in Grade 3". All his friends would ask if they could keep his drawings, thus feeding his love of the pencil. With such an early start to his artistic career, his passion for sharing these drawing skills with young people is no surprise. While his exhibition is on view, Jeff will be conducting a cartoon drawing workshop for children aged 6-12yrs on Friday January 20, 1-3pm. Bookings are essential for this workshop.
Jeff Douwes' Retrospective: Painting the Story will officially open at the Gympie Regional Gallery on Saturday, January 7 at 1.30pm. The Gallery is located at 39 Nash Street Gympie. Phone 5481 0733 for any further information.