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My Roses - Australian Love Story ONE MAN'S LOVE FOR HIS WIFE

From  The West Australian October 15th  2013   by Pip Christmass 

(shortened version of the original article)

Love  fires late calling.

When Perth* war veteran Stan Hopewell turned 80, he picked up brush and started painting for the first time in his life.  But it  wasn’t a late-life sea change or sudden desire to uncover his hidden inner artist that impelled this unassuming octogenarian to put paint to canvas. Hopewell’s beloved wife, Joyce, herself a  painter had become seriously ill, battling breast cancer before being diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2000.

He became her primary carer. His way of dealing with what was happening to his wife was to begin to paint – rich, detailed, profoundly  spiritual works created by a man with no formal training in art. Hopewell said “I feel I have misled you, you seem to think that I painted these pictures. I did not paint these pictures; a force greater than I takes over ‘my hand.’

His paintings were shown at  the Wilson Art Gallery under the title God is Love (one of the central themes of most of these paintings  is  an unwavering love and implicit trust in God.) Hopewell’s paintings burst with colour ,full of  profound engagement with his religion and intensively expressive of his love for his wife.  While there is great emotional suffering behind these paintings what is most remarkable is that they come across as both positive and hopeful. 

“These paintings are a love story says Ted Snell( his biographer).  It’s a love story about Joyce and Stan obviously, but also a love of God, a love of  living, of his family, of Australia. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a dark side. Some of his poetry which he was writing at the same time is quite anguished. But when it came to making images, he couldn’t help but celebrate the fact that Joyce was still alive and that there was some hope”

* Perth is capital city of Western Australia. 

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Comment by only1sue on November 10, 2013 at 12:20am

Great inspiration..a man who loved his wife, loved people and loved God. Wish I could paint in that extravagant, brilliant way.  What a great way of using the energy of grieving.

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