THE heroic life of Jeff Williams of Somerville has left an indelible footprint on Mornington Peninsula artists.
The 57-year-old who died recently was one of the mainstays of the Mornington Peninsula Painting and Drawing Group Inc which is understood to have originally been an offshoot of the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery.
In spite of being in a wheelchair and attached to an oxygen bottle, Mr Williams held the roles of president and treasurer during his long association with the 50-year-old group.
After Mr Williams was hospitalised with complications from life-long muscular dystrophy and heart/lung issues the group was set to be wound up.
But at the last minute it was decided that Mr William’s legacy of heroism and optimism in the face of adversity could not be ignored and alternative arrangements were made to continue the group.
Mr Williams was an accomplished artist who had entered past Archibald awards where his work was selected by the Victorian Salon Des Refuses.
His Archibald subjects included artist Godwin Bradbeer, author Abdi Aden and actor Greg Ross who was the celebrant at Jeff’s funeral.
Two of Mr William’s friends created the “Frankeneasel” – a feat of engineering which allowed Mr Williams to access large canvases at different angles.
A group of 12 artists held a minute’s silence for Mr Williams and raised a glass of champagne in his memory at the first session of the new-look Mornngton Peninsula Painting and Drawing Group Inc held Tuesday 8 March.
Mr William’s funeral was on Thursday 3 March.
“Jeff loved his arty tribe,” said his wife of 31 years, Sue Williams.
“He loved painting and drawing and enjoyed their company.”
One group member said that Jeff’s rare spirit of optimism and kindness had greatly helped her ongoing recovery from PTSD.
“There was absolutely no way his legacy was going to be wasted,” she said.
“He was a very rare person indeed.”
Mornington Peninsula Painting and Drawing Group committee member, Bill Caldwell, said the group had been made richer by the life of Jeff Williams.
“He was an inspiration to everyone who met him,” said Mr Caldwell.
Life drawing classes with models have now resumed and are being held each Tuesday at the U3A premises at the Currawong Street hall, Mornington.
Short-timed poses are held between 10am and midday with longer poses held between 1 and 3pm.
More artists are needed to attend the morning session to keep it going.
Costs: $30 joining fee. $15 per session or $25 for the full day.
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