Painting the town

Liz Bell

THERE’S something colourful happening in Loch Sport, and it’s not just the sensational sunsets.

Slowly, but surely, surfaces around town are being given a makeover, thanks to the artistic talents of relative newcomer Simon White.

White is currently working on a stunning mural on the Marina Hotel, drawing on local knowledge to include some of the town’s much-loved identities who have contributed to the town’s character.

Since moving to Loch Sport from the Mornington Peninsula two years ago, White has been painting pretty much non-stop to add some vibrancy and “narrative” to the town.

Already, he has been commissioned to complete more than a dozen murals on various surfaces, including water tanks, caravans and fences, to blend them into the natural environment, and doesn’t plan to stop there.

There is talk of his murals being part of a local ‘art trail’ to boost tourism, and there has been interest from the shire and other bodies looking at revitalising buildings and other surfaces.

But it’s the mural at the Marina Hotel that has given a distinctly personal touch to White’s work.

White said he instantly fell in love with the small, coastal town and its people, and hoped to immortalise the kindness and warmth of some of the people he had met.

One of those is the late Brenda Elliott, a well respected and long time resident of Loch Sport who passed away a few months ago.

White said he was honoured to be able to paint a permanent reminder of Brenda’s beauty.

Hotel owner Peter Arsenijevic commissioned the mural, which White hopes to finish this weekend, after seeing some of the artist’s handiwork around town.

“There are lots of people here who are really great characters, so it’s nice to be able to honour them by putting them on the wall,” he said.

Other locals who feature in the mural include another much-loved regular ‘Donny’, singing duo ‘Cats in the Kitchen’, and 83-year-old Dulcie, who Peter says stops in every Friday night for her pineapple cruisers and “stays til stumps”. And, of course, the family dog.

“These are some of the people who make Loch Sport a friendly, welcoming place to be,” he said.