Hazell's Painting History
Hazell's painting history has been very much an on-again off-again process. She showed an interest in art at school and then it was off during her early working years. The interest came again during her overseas travels but it was off again when she returned to Australia for some years until it was rekindled when she studied art while working in Port Augusta S.A. for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Her true interest came when she found the teacher who inspired her most, David Beech. It was David who encouraged her to enter prestigous competitions which led to her entering two paintings in the Swan Hill Inaugural Art Award, resulting in her being invited to hold a solo exhibition at the Swan Hill Regional Gallery.
Hazell Ray Swan Hill Regional Gallery Exhibition Opening
David Beech with Hazell as he officially opened her solo exhibition
The following is from a press report shortly after Hazell’s Swan Hill Exhibition.
Hazell Ray grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell. At Camberwell Girls School she showed a flair for art but had done little to develop that flair when her working life began in 1956.
In 1961 she went on a working holiday to Britain. Unlike many of her compatriots she steered clear of London and that Mecca for Australians there, Earl's Court. Instead, she took up residence on a farm in the Warwickshire countryside and travelled to a job in nearby Coventry on her trust Vespa..
"I recall,” she says, "that a sketch book was a very important part of my luggage, and it was there in Warwickshire that I took my first art lessons and started to paint." Lack of self-confidence, however, was her problem and it manifested itself to such a degree that she put aside her palette and brushes
and decided that painting was not her thing, despite a great desire to persevere with it.
Following her return to Melbourne in 1963, while visiting a friend of a friend at Lakes Entrance she admired several paintings hanging in the home and enquired who the artist was. "I am," her hostess told her. “I looked at her," says Hazell, "and it came to me that she, like me, was an ordinary mortal. And if she could produce paintings that impressed me why could I not produce satisfying paintings too?”
Shortly after Hazell was working for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in Port Augusta, SA. Here, many of the aborigines with whom she worked were keen to paint. All seemed to have ambitions of becoming Albert Namatjira’s “A New Zealand lady, Kath Barrett, was teaching them art and I asked to join the class. She .set me on the road, and before she returned to New Zealand she told me that I should keep on painting. That I had talent that should be developed."
Hazell returned to Melbourne and went through several years of taking odd lessons and becoming increasingly frustrated, usually because of her teachers in whom she could find little confidence. Then she commenced studying under David Beech at Ringwood and immediately began to find herself. David Beech has had a number of successful exhibitions and has won several significant awards. In David, Hazell felt that she had found the teacher and mentor she needed.Since coming under David's influence she has been painting intensively. Her work has developed and is giving her growing satisfaction. Her style is traditional representational and her preferred medium is oil or acrylic.
It was at David's suggestion that she entered for the Swan Hill Inaugural Art Award and her entries in that competition resulted in several invitations to exhibit. The first of these was an exhibition of 30 paintings at Swan Hill Regional Gallery, commencing on 3rd September 1977, for three weeks.
The following paintings are from Hazell's development period 1966 - 1978