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19 February, 2021

Accidental Artist

PHIL Rooney is an accidental artist.

By Nicole Gibson

The former forest ranger and Japanese interpreter of 30 years picked up his first set of paint brushes just 18 months ago after finding himself out work after of losing his job.

He sold his first painting to a friend in June last year ago and now features regularly at the Cairns Art Society’s DFO Gallery with his work showcased in the organisation’s annual art exhibition the last two years running.

While he is humbled by the early interest in his works he says he still has so much to learn. 

“I’m only still at the beginning. I paint good but I want to paint great but I am still not really there,” Mr Rooney said.

“I still have so much to learn.”

Whether Mr Rooney thinks he is a great painter or not, his customers certainly do.

He has sold 11 pieces to date with his latest piece (pictured) expected to sell for around $1400.

While he considers himself fortunate for the increasing interest in his work, he credits his former career with exposing him to the beauty of the wet tropics which is the subject of his art.

“This area of North Queensland is a really beautiful area, it’s really special the wet tropics and I’ve been fortunate enough to go on tours,” he said.

“I’ve been on Daintree River cruises, out to the reef and up to the rainforest where I’ve translated for people like marine biologists and other guides that really know their stuff.

“People interested in finding out more about Mr Rooney and his art can head to his newly established Instagram account or visit the DFO Gallery.

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