Every now and then life poses a question in a split second – do you drive on by or make a U-turn?  

And it happened to me this afternoon.

Driving down our lane, my head merrily in its own world, a solitary figure came into view, off to the side of the road, standing beside his easel, his British racing green Triumph convertible patiently waiting nearby.

I could have glanced aside, felt too awkward to stop, and driven on my way … instead, curiosity kicked in and the steering wheel made a U-turn before I could even argue with it.  I parked a small distance from the Triumph and walked towards the still figure, intently painting.  I could not help but notice the worn, perfectly fitting beret … and the clearly custom-built easel with a fitted palette, beautifully balanced on the rough grass.  An artist at one with his world.

What a fortunate moment in time it turned out to be.   A little hesitantly, I asked if I could interrupt him for a short chat.  He indicated that would be okay and we spoke about the beauty of the Yarra Valley (and how busy the roads had become), and about his subject … old farm buildings set in an intrinsically Australian 1930s landscape, with a quality of light that imbued his painting with that something else that speaks to the heart.

I tried hard not to ask dumb questions and instead, took a few photos, including the piece he continued to work on as we spoke.   I was utterly entranced with the painting, even in its unfinished state, and as he handed me his card, I can only describe this moment as lucky.  I could so easily have missed it and driven on by.

Joseph Zbukvic – is a world-class artist in Plein Air style, internationally recognised and awarded as a leading watercolourist, exhibited worldwide, and … well, is it any wonder?

Thank you Joseph, for a moment in my day that will remain.   I’m glad I opted to seize the moment, not play it safe and drive on.  It’s a U-turn that filled my mind with awe, and gratitude that we have such artists in our world … and who love the Yarra Valley as we do.