Bruce's watercolour talent mingles with CQU's training to earn him Toowoomba Show accolade

06 April 2022

Bruce Griffiths has hit a new high watermark in his artistic career after CQUniversity's Visual Arts training helped earn him the Grand Champion of Paintings at the 2022 Toowoomba Royal Show.

The 66-year-old has spoken highly of CQU's Certificate III in Visual Arts and encouraged other amateur artists looking to enhance their abilities to consider the course.

After many years of working as a builder' Bruce is emerging as an artist-to-watch with his vivid' realistic watercolours.

"I had spent many years in the Queensland construction scene and my spare time spent outdoors before picking up a paintbrush in 2002' at the age of 46'" Bruce said.

"Like many amateur or hobby artists I was largely self-taught but became indebted to early professional learning workshops with renowned Australian artists like Robert Wade' Robert Lovett' Greg Allen' David Taylor' Alvaro Castagnet' Herman Pekel and Joseph Zbukvic.

"A very rich heritage served as a catalyst for my own fresh take on watercolour painting' but I knew there was a missing element of university education that would give me the self-belief to pursue broader more professional directions in art."

Bruce enrolled in the Certificate III in Visual Arts at CQU in 2019 and completed the course earlier this year.

His success at the Toowoomba Royal Show happened not long after. He won the Grand Champion of Paintings and was also awarded two third prizes in three sections.

"It has been a high watermark in my art career'" he said.

"I practice at watercolour and this course exposed me to many other varied art formats and mediums' some were challenging' but still very enjoyable. The teachers were never far from assistance which is a credit to the system."

Bruce' with his confidence now sky high' teaches watercolour to other artists' including an invitation to tutor at the five-day Art on the Barron Art Experience 2022 in Mareeba' which he also puts down to the skills and knowledge he's acquired at CQU.

"Where I started' where I am now and where I will be in five or 10 years' time have been and will be beyond my current hopes and dreams'" he said.

"I am now a full-time practising artist also involved in workshops and teaching. Teaching makes me a better artist and passing on the baton makes me note exactly what it is that I am doing in my own creating.

"I was always a builder who did art' then an artist who does some building and now I have left all the baggage behind and practice art' almost 24/7 unless my wife and I go fishing.

"When I first started painting' this sort of program of painting and teaching was unimaginable to me' but now there is never enough time to share my love of watercolour.

"A lifetime of fishing and the bush has instilled a love of outdoors' so my paintings reveal the beauty of Australia and the stories within' but I am not averse to still life' figures and such. I just need to find more time to cover them all. I paint traditional realism leaning towards impressionism in watercolour. I paint what I see but more importantly I paint what I feel about what I see.

"Whenever I have the chance' I am encouraging my students to engage with CQU. Potential and five dollars will buy you a cup of coffee; simply potential and hard work will carry you so far' but knowledge is gold and will remove those little self-doubts that all artists experience. It's the best thing to do."