“There is no Beauty without Decay”

Artist Ged Walker. Photo: Katherine O’Brien.
Artist Ged Walker. Photo: Katherine O’Brien.

Local artist, Ged Walker has been keeping history alive through his paintings.

Ged was introduced to watercolours whilst studying Architectural Drawing at QUT.

At that time watercolour painting was used as a method of creating hand drawn pictures of project buildings, prior to the build.  

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He completed many presentation drawings in architects’ offices in the following years, ranging from shopping centres to residential high rise.

He worked for a major project house builder on the Gold Coast, producing hand drawn and painted renderings of their houses, until the increased use of computers made this task redundant.

Ged’s watercolour painting of a house on Darlington Range Road.

Ged missed the painting he had done through his work, and began painting at home, continuing his interest in architectural renderings.

He was drawn to old buildings and says he loved the saying, “There is no beauty without decay.”

His most recent work was a commissioned painting of the Canungra Uniting Church.  This was the last of the churches in the town that Ged had painted.

However, it is buildings on the edge of decay that hold the greatest interest for the talented artist.

“For me, there is a point where that ‘decay’ reaches perfection, then begins to deteriorate to a stage where the building doesn’t inspire me anymore.”

Ged says there are three things that can happen to an old building:

  • They are left to rot on the ground,
  • They are restored,
  • They are removed or knocked down.

None of these options appeal to Ged, and each option causes him a sense of despair.

“I feel a certain sense of duty to try and capture an old building when it is in it’s stage of perfection”.  

His work means buildings that have been demolished or renovated have been documented for future generations to appreciate.

Unfortunately modern building techniques mean newer buildings will not age in the same way.

“New composite cladding won’t weather like Australian hardwood and new paints wont flake and peel like the old lead based paints,” he says.

“The custom orb roofing will never have that beautiful rusted patch work effect of the old, as now they can run sheets the full span of a roof”.

Ged’s work captures the history of many significant buildings, including Canungra Cottages at 10 Appel Street (before renovation), Dale Mahony’s shed on Coburg Road, an old cottage on Lawton Lane (since demolished), Banka Banka at Wonglepong and Benobble house.

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About Keer Moriarty 290 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.