Bowtell completes Colbinabbin silos

By Simon Ruppert

Colbinabbin’s six silos have been painted by Benalla artist Tim Bowtell in his biggest project yet.

The artwork took 50 days to paint over about 10 weeks, as Mr Bowtell was able to continue working despite coronavirus restrictions.
During the two-and-a-half-months of painting, Mr Bowtell had to conquer the elements to get the job done.

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‘‘It gets quite windy here and when it funnels through between the silos, it gets even more powerful, and the rain a couple of weeks ago stopped me for two-and-a-half days,” Mr Bowtell said.

He said it was quite a process to come up with designs based on the ideas of the silo art project committee.

‘‘I get really excited by the challenge of the scale, and the challenge of putting someone’s ideas into paintings.

‘‘There were no colour photos and not that many reference photos of the picnic scene, so we recreated it and had some costumes made up and had a bit of a photo session.’’

Silo project lead Sadie Vale said the designs depicting Colbinabbin’s history came from community consultation, but had to blend with each other in theme.

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‘‘We tried to capture all the stories, so the design was difficult — we had lots of meetings and draft designs until we came up with solutions,’’ Ms Vale said.

Since coronavirus restrictions have eased, visitors have begun to view the silos.

‘‘We’re hoping once restrictions pass, the pub and the shop will be running full steam ahead and the visitors can come and enjoy the artwork and have a local meal,’’ Ms Vale said.

‘‘Our committee will need to monitor and maintain the project, so we’ll get into a pattern of completing further works around it.’’

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Ms Vale said it was an amazing experience to working with an artist like Mr Bowtell.

‘‘The project team has worked really closely together and that’s why we’ve gotten to where we have, because we’ve got such a great committee and a great relationship with Tim, which I think has been an important factor for the success of this project,” she said.

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