Welcome to our Meet The Tutor series, where we get to know the faces that make WWAS the amazing hub of creativity that it is.
First up, our beloved Painting tutor, plein air and landscape painter, Kevin McKay.
What do you do at WWAS?
I teach two classes on Tuesdays at WWAS, helping experienced students do what they like in the mornings and introducing beginners to painting fundamentals in the evenings.
Tell us about your artistic/career journey to this point.
I had an artistic epiphany at age 9, but was a mature age student when I finally made it to National Art School. That is when I began painting streetscapes as a response to the things that caught my eye in the daily commute. A scholarship to the British School at Rome followed, proving that all roads do indeed lead to Rome. I returned to seek the classical in Sydney’s familiar places and go plein air painting as a way of getting to know its hidden gems.
What is your favourite thing about WWAS?
I love the feeling of history in the century old School of Arts building that the WWAS occupies, and the sense of community in this unique artists-run cooperative.
If you could share a meal with three artists living or dead, who would they be?
I wouldn’t mind sharing a meal with Leonardo, Vermeer and Corot – although translators would be required!
What do you do when not creating or teaching?
When not teaching or painting I enjoy bushwalking, rock fishing and chilling with family. I have been learning to sail over the summer and indulge in Wordle.
What inspires or motivates you?
The thrill of discovering a readymade composition waiting to be painted always gets me going. My subjects may be architectural, but it’s all about the poetics of space, the magic of light and atmosphere.
What are you listening to?
I find it wise to listen to my wife of 34 years.
What are you currently reading?
I can read, but I mostly look at the pictures.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I am proud of my kids who are smart, kind and finding their own paths in life. There have been a few awards, but persistence each day in the studio and the accumulative record of 19 solo shows over 12 years may be my greatest accomplishment.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I could eat my wife’s lamb curry every day!
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
One day in Rome or Venice with my wife would be wonderful.
What would you sing at Karaoke night?
Crowded House, Don’t Dream it’s Over… maybe
If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to and why?
1415 – Florence. I could hang around the front of the cathedral to see if I could get a selfie with Brunelleschi as he painted the Baptistry – the first picture using the principles of linear perspective.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Depot Beach on the south coast in the Murramarang National Park has been a favorite family holiday destination.
How would your friends describe you?
My best mate died tragically five years ago, but he would probably say I think and talk too much and need to use bigger brushes.
If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
Umm… The super speed of The Flash? That might help me do more paintings, or at least get all the boring stuff done so I can enjoy more time in the studio.
What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?
If I visited a desert island I would bring a sailboat, a fishing rod and my paint kit.
What song would you say best sums you up?
We are all seeking a holy grail of some kind, so U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For could be my theme song.
What’s your favourite quote? “Nothing is more abstract than reality.” – Morandi