TWIN brothers John and Rob Ainsworth say their golden memories of growing up in Corrigin inspired their love of painting.
They are now both professional full-time artists, exhibiting in more than 50 art shows in Western Australia every year, and have won more than 150 major awards for their stunning watercolours.
They recently reunited for what was not only their first joint exhibition, but also their first exhibition in their hometown.
Their work was featured in the Corrigin Resource Centre from December 9-11.
Although the twins have led separate careers – John in Perth and Rob in Albany, both have drawn on their childhood memories of growing up in the bush to produce their magnificent rustic country landscapes.
“We both just love the country, that’s how inspirational it is,” John said.
“We had a fabulous childhood in Corrigin, a charmed existence, growing up with bare feet, climbing trees and riding our pushbikes and so on.”
The twins, whose father was a Cooperative Bulk Handling wheat inspector, left Corrigin for Perth at the age of 15 in the 1960s where they first began experimenting with painting.
“We did some oil painting when we reached the city and were really pining away for the country,” John said.
“We would paint rural sunset scenes completely from memory, trying to remember what colours they were, because we had nothing to look at to work from.”
John worked as a Telstra technician then a truck driver while Rob worked as a sign writer, painting the Captain Cook tour ferries among other things.
As well as possessing a similar taste in paintings, they appear to have had a similar taste in women as they ended up marrying sisters.
John has three grown up children and Rob five.
John said he didn’t start painting seriously until he took on truck driving work at Bonnie Rock from 1992-95.
“I missed the rural lifestyle and wanted to get back to it so I took up a job driving a grain truck, and just loved it,” John said.
The rural stint must have inspired him to get back into painting, because on his return to Perth he began to paint prolifically and for the last few years has been working full time as a professional artist.
“It pays the bills, but it’s hard work painting watercolours, because if you make a mistake you can’t fix it, whereas in oil painting you can go over it.”
Despite living in the city he said he often went on excursions to rural towns such as York and Beverley to get inspiration for his paintings.
Meanwhile, Rob studied art history in Albany and then went into a professional cartooning career, with much of his work successfully published.
Although living and working apart, somehow both brothers stumbled upon a love of watercolours and this is what brought them together for their recent Corrigin exhibition.
The successful exhibition attracted 263 people with 11 of the 33 works being sold.
John said they were looking forward to making the exhibition an annual event.