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Three peas in an artist’s pod

THE Casterton Kelpie Association’s art show this year was even more sensational than usual when three members of the same family took out top awards.
Renowned local wildlife artist Brett Jarrett and his two young daughters all submitted entries into the awards, making it clear there is something very arty running through that bloodline.
Mr Jarrett won the top Kelpie Acquisitive Art Award, eldest daughter Scarlett Torpy (almost 11) won the under-12 category, and youngest daughter Ivy Torpy (9) was awarded highly commended (second place) in the same category.
While Mr Jarrett said he is the first in his family that he knows of who has displayed any artistic talent, it’s obvious that both Scarlett and Ivy have inherited the gift.
Artists all around Australia have had an opportunity to take out the grand prize of Kelpie Acquisitive Artist prize since its inception in 2011. The winning artwork is then held by the Australian Kelpie Centre for all to enjoy.
Mr Jarrett, who has twice judged the awards, said he wanted to enter for the first time as a way of supporting the show, and thought his girls might like to also have a crack.
“Scarlett and Ivy both paint occasionally and have an interest in it; they’re always watching me at work, and because Scarlett loves dogs and Ivy loves horses, I asked them if they’d like to do a painting for the show,” said Mr Jarrett.
He then gathered some reference material for them and they set about drawing it up. Naturally, as artist and dad, Mr Jarrett was able to show them how to mix colours and point out the things to look for to bring their paintings to life, such as noticing and capturing the different shades and variations of colour in their subjects.
The girls “put a fair bit of effort in” and completed their masterpieces within three days. And they worked hard.
An artist of Mr Jarrett’s standing doesn’t have the successes he has had without being disciplined in his work and, well, being a bit of a perfectionist. OK, a lot of a perfectionist. But despite finding their dad “a bit strict as a teacher” the girls enjoyed the process.
“It was our first picture using oil,” said Scarlett. “(Ivy and I have) both done lots of painting before but used mostly acrylics.”
Naturally, the girls were able to make good use of their dad’s studio. And while having innate talent and a good teacher are certainly advantages when it comes to daubing on canvas, “having access to quality paints always makes a huge difference to the end result”, said Mr Jarrett.
It was no surprise to those who know Ivy that her chosen subject was a horse. And like Scarlett, she took to the oil medium, special brushes and colour mixing tips like a pro. She especially enjoyed seeing what the fan brush – a brush in the shape of a fan which helps to blend colours – and a maulstick could do. (The latter is a stick with a padded head used to support and keep your working hand steady but also to keep it off the work.)
“I used the stick the whole time,” said Ivy. “I really enjoyed doing the horse and making it look real, and used the fan brush especially on my horse’s mane.”
Scarlett also relished the learning. “It was hard at first because we had to get the whole painting finished, and dad said to make a light background if it was a dark dog [for contrast] and use the fan brush to make the fur look realistic.”
Painting on canvas was also a whole new experience after using paper, said Scarlett.
Ivy was “happy” to see her painting hanging on the wall, and Scarlett loved that a visitor to the show was stunned that girls their age had submitted paintings of such high quality. There were about 30 other paintings in their category.
But they seem oblivious of their talent. “I guess mine probably won because of the kelpie,” said Scarlett.
With Mr Jarrett apparently the first in the family to be so artistically talented, naturally there is going to be some rivalry for second place.
“I’m the second person in the family,” said one. “No, I am!” laughed the other. So both girls will have brushes drawn for the great brush-off at the Hamilton Show in October. There’s nothing like a little competition to give you that extra edge.
Scarlett is determined to do a red-tailed black cockatoo this time, and Ivy said she “might do a Clydesdale” to keep her dad on his toes.
And this is just the beginning. We can all expect to see much more of these talented siblings as their strengths flourish and they pit against each other for top prize.

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