Phil Hunter


I believe that Phil Hunter is the best contemporary Australian landscape painter, and arguably one of the best painters of his generation. Here are some examples of his work.

The painting shown above, a large oil canvas, comes from Phil’s Acheron series, which I think are my favourite examples of his work. They share the glowing deep burnt red colours shown here.

My friendship (that almost wasn’t) with Phil

My first meeting with Phil did not go well. I was running a dog training centre in Nicholson St North Fitzroy, on the ground floor of a former clothing factory. Phil and his partner Vera Moeller (see Vera’s page) were just moving in upstairs. I was very stressed that day and running late for an appointment. Phil was moving his paintings into the studio and his car was blocking mine. To cut a long story short, I had an outburst. I could see that Phil was starting to get angry, but I couldn’t do anything to stop myself. Vera perceived that I was having a meltdown – as she said later, “how could I miss it?” She stepped in and smoothed things over, managing to calm both Phil and me,

Despite this ominous beginning, we became good friends. I was always welcome to come upstairs to the studio and see their work. I think this was such a privilege, because it is one thing to exhibit a finished work – it is quite another to let people see an uncompleted work. It’s like a writer publishing an unedited draft, or a performer letting the public in on rehearsals. At am always amazed at Phil and Vera’s generosity.

Phil and Vera love dogs, so after we got to know each other, I started to look after their dog “Frank”, a blue heeler/whippet cross. They would “go bush” every Christmas/New Year period, while Phil would do sketches for his next series of paintings. Frank would be my house guest. One year I had workmen building a pergola in my back yard. One of them left the side gate open and Frank slipped out, heading up Nicholson St towards the studio. A young woman picked him up and took him to the Lost Dogs’ Home. My friend Silke and I printed off a Lost Dog notice and put copies up around the neighbourhood. The young woman saw a notice in the window of the 7-11 on the corner, and phoned me. Next day I went in to pay the fine and bail him out. The worst thing that can happen if you are looking after someone’s dog is to lose him.

Frank had a seizure one day at my place. Fortunately I had two veterinarians visiting at the time, and they confirmed that it was a seizure. Sadly, some time later, when he was back with Phil and Vera, Phil took him to the park, where he had another seizure and died.

They now have a Koolie called Mollie.

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5 Comments

  1. it’s ok he’s an dear old friend we had a running joke about ironing boards

    Reply
  2. it looks like he’s left that first red one on the ironing board

    Reply

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