Wagga Motors Principal Scott Braid insists he “doesn’t have an artistic bone” in his body. Yet, the proof is in the paintings – dozens of them.
Some are surprisingly impressive for a guy who in his own words is “just a car dealer” – and others, he reckons less so.
“I painted Rocky once. That was awful,” he laughs.
About two years ago he walked into Tahlia Keogh Fine Art on Edward Street with his then eight-year-old son George on a quest for quality time.
“My son had always liked drawing and painting and I thought this would be a great way to do something together. I thought he could draw and paint and I can try and join in,” Scott says.
“I rocked up with zero expectations. I remember there was a really welcoming, low-pressure vibe. I asked my son what he wanted to paint and we chose Pennywise from It. We both ended up painting one.”
While it was indeed the opportunity for father-and-son bonding that Scott had hoped for, it turned out to be even more than that.
And though his mates never saw him as “the artistic type”, Scott now attends classes at the gallery studio two or three times a week, sometimes with his son but often just for the mindfulness.
“Whatever going on that day, I step in and five minutes later I’m focused on the canvas in front of me, on colour blending and achieving the right brush stroke. It allows you to be present and push everything else to the side,” Scott says.
“It can take you out of your comfort zone. One day I took a still life class where the model changed poses in five and two-minute increments and we had to keep sketching. That’s something I never thought I would do but it was enlightening and intriguing.
“I’m always saying to my staff, ‘To be at your best at work you need to be at your best outside of it’. I’m a big advocate for balance and pursuing interests and passions outside of the workplace. This happens to be my outlet.”
George, now 10, has equally blossomed in his artistry.
“At one of our recent sessions he turned to me and said ‘Dad, I’m always really happy when I’m painting, and especially when I’ve finished my painting’. He’s just in there having fun and I love that it puts a smile on his face,” Scott says.
“It helps that Tahlia works to make it engaging. Even though I am a bit, shall we say… ‘artistically challenged’, she helps me enjoy it and take what’s in my mind and put that onto canvas.”
His favourite creations so far have been a painting of a pair of sneakers that was a collaboration with George, and a portrait he painted of George for a birthday gift.
“That’s everlasting, you know, something that’ll be with him for the rest of his life,” Scott says.
“There’s something to be said about the effort put into a painting and giving that away as a gift. There are few gifts more meaningful, I think.”
Tahlia herself is an accomplished artist and a practising lawyer by day. She says it gives her great pleasure to see the therapeutic effect art can have on her students as they “switch gears”.
“Take Scott. He’s a businessman. He comes in from the heat of the day and you can see the stress melt away as he paints,” she says.
“It’s also been so lovely seeing George grow in his confidence.”
But for Tahlia, the greatest thing going on in the studio is the shoring up of a community.
“My youngest student is five, my oldest is 87. We have quite a few students who have learning or physical disabilities. People of all professions and backgrounds come together for these classes,” she says.
“It’s really nice to see people who might not come together in their day-to-day lives, bonding over art. Beautiful and unique friendships are forming and that’s a big part of what we’ve got going on here.”
Learn more at Tahlia Keogh Fine Art.