Friday, August 9, 2013

Reg Gregor Passes Away

This tribute is very difficult for me to write, as I knew Reg Gregor as a friend.  Even though I hadn't seen him in a long time, I remember meeting him when I was around 15 years old, and watching him paint during Christmas Holidays at Brunswick Heads.  He'd set up his canvas tent on the grounds of the Hotel Brunswick and sit and paint all day; living in the moment, forgetting to eat or drink anything all day.  People would buy him drinks and lunch so he'd be able to keep going until sunset.  Me?  I'd be there watching him for a few hours as those beautiful paintings emerged from his imagination through his brush and onto the blank canvas; through the oil paint.

The work was beautiful!

Reg would work all week and on the Saturday, he'd play auctioneer and sell off each painting to a massive crowd of people who'd show up almost throwing money at him for his pieces.  I often attended these to see who'd buy which ones; and he'd remember some people who bought one of his paintings at a time - as they'd not have the money for a set of two or three and have to save up for the rest.  They keep coming back for the next ones each time.

I remember seeing him over the Christmas school holidays until I started working and he was still working there at the pub at Brunswick.  Each year, he'd remember me (and with bright red hair and fair complexion, who would forget me?).  He and I would chat and he'd ask how I was going at school or work, one day asked if I painted.  He was a little sad to find that I didn't but wished I could, that I didn't know how to find my way to a paintbrush; as it just wasn't in me yet.  He said to keep going at it and it'll probably find me.
One year, I found Reg at the Brunswick Markets after he had major heart surgery.  The doctors had ordered him to stop smoking and to back off on the drinking and to take a holiday; the problem was he didn't know how to, as art and making art was his life.  So, he stopped painting for a year and made windchimes out of shells and lovely hangers too - one of which I bought and still have around here but I don't have anywhere to hang it right now.  But I used to hang it off my rear vision mirror in my car (and from behind it look phallic... hilariously nobody realised until they sat in my car!  But I knew what I was buying).  

Unfortunately, I lost touch with Reg when my health declined and I had to concentrate on getting better.  And it's only been a couple of months since I found him on Facebook and friended him again, joining his 'Mad Artist' Facebook page, seeing his beautiful paintings he still painted up until a few months ago.  And it's with great sadness that I found out while surfing the net just yesterday that he passed away while in palliative care in Lismore hospital.  Reg had been very sick - and in and out of hospital a number of times - before the doctors told him that he couldn't go home only a week or so ago.  
So, you know my own personal tribute to this great artist - and friend of mine.  I thought to attach the news report about him I found for you all.  He was a real character and his service was today - something I couldn't attend unfortunately, but I didn't forget was on and I paused to remember him and say goodbye in my own way.  

Tribute to Reg Gregor 

I hope you all find an artist in your life as mad, as gifted, as wonderful and friendly as this man was to me.  And you know, he was right... I didn't find art, art found me.  I just wish I could have shown him how much I love the art world now; as I was going to visit him at Christmas to catch up with him. 


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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely and heart-felt comment here. I had been meaning to visit Reg once I got myself another car (I have Epilepsy and couldn't drive for some years). However, the year I did, I missed him by only months of going to see him.

      He was most certainly the most wonderful person to know. And I don't regret ever meeting him. I'm glad I got to meet him at such a young age, then I could admire his work from year to year as I revisited Brunswick Heads during holidays.

      Reg was/is one of the greats. This Christmas I will go and see The Men's Shed and see how it's going.