BADEN CROFT IN CONVERSATION Casual chats with Peninsula people By Liz Rogers

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When did you start expressing yourself through art?

I’ve always done it. At high school I began experimenting with different mediums and developed a keen interest in artists like Ben Quilty, Brett Whiteley and John Brack.

Did you always want to be a painter?

Being an artist was one of the last things I thought I’d be doing. It always seemed to be unachievable. I was enrolled in a marine biology degree but started selling paintings, so it was put on the back-burner.

What is your favourite medium?

I love to work with oil paint. I thoroughly enjoy the freedom and buttery texture you are able to achieve with it. I’m also quite keen to experiment with lino printing and various forms of sculpture.

Do you have a favourite painting?

I’ve got a few favourites, including one I did recently, which is a vibrant 1.8 x 1.9m interior/seascape (pictured). This is one of my more recent works, which is part of a series titled Room with a View

Where does your work show?

Art2Muse in Double Bay, Sydney, mainly. I’ll be having my third solo show there in June. I also show at Allison Bellinger Gallery in Inverell, NSW; Merricks General Store; and Southern Buoy Studios, which is a fantastic gallery space in Mornington.

Any favourite spots on the Peninsula to visit for inspiration?

The Peninsula is full of inspirational locations, both man-made and natural. I am mostly drawn to the more rugged, organic parts. I often gravitate to coastal landscapes.

Have you always lived here?

Yes, but I’ve been on many surfing-related overseas trips including Indonesia, Samoa and the Philippines, Europe and Morocco. I’ve just returned from the Victorian High Country, which has inspired my next body of work.

Can you remember selling your first painting? 

It was to well-known Peninsula author and illustrator Meredith Gaston. It was a floral commission piece.

Tell us about your painting process.

Often bodies of work are inspired by a specific place and stem from photos. From here I may do sketches or go straight to the canvas. I use a corking gun to empty large quantities of oils on to a glass table where I mix the paint before applying it directly and rapidly to the canvas with palette knives in layers. I am extremely impatient when it comes to the actual making of a work. Even the largest of paintings will often take no longer than a day or two but can take up to six months to dry properly.

What does a day in your life look like? 

Coffee first! Then a few hours surfing, the bakery, then studio. Put on some music and begin to paint. I find my most productive days are when I get to the studio with an idea in mind and paint late into the night with no distractions.

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