MAGIC TOUCH: This is Sylvia Spletter’s most recent painting titled Peaceful Lock. Almost all of her pieces incorporate some sort of water.
MAGIC TOUCH: This is Sylvia Spletter’s most recent painting titled Peaceful Lock. Almost all of her pieces incorporate some sort of water. Anastassia Perets

Sylvia develops flair for painting

SYLVIA Spletter became an artist at 60 but discovered her talent almost overnight.

She all of a sudden started painting with skill.

"I started with folk art; that's more of a skill where you put drawings on a canvas and follow the dots," she said.

"Then my brother asked me to do a painting, and everyone was saying, 'I didn't know you could do that'."

When asked how she could paint so well, she really has no answer.

"I don't know, I just started doing it," she said.

"When I was little I couldn't draw a thing - I couldn't even draw a banana."

Looking back to her younger days, she laughs at more memories than her inability to draw bananas.

"I hated school, I was a real dunce and bottom of the class," she said.

"They gave me a map of Australia and I couldn't remember where the capitals went.

"My twin brother was top of class so complete opposite.

"He is a handyman and we are the only ones in the family that use hands - must be genetics."

The first piece Sylvia put into an art show came in first place against more experienced artists.

"One of my paintings is now in Germany; it was sold in an auction here and they took it over," she said.

"The last painting I did was in 2009; I don't know why I stopped but will do it again one day."

Born in Toowoomba, Sylvia came to Monto for a holiday visit but then got a job as a domestic at Monto Hospital.

Shortly after, she met her to-be husband Percy.

The pair tied the knot on December 9, 1952.

Their first child appeared on December 4 the following year.

In total, they had four children - three boys and one girl.

"He was 14 years older, but the age gap made no difference," she said.

"The biggest anniversary we reached was 56 years.

"It was a good marriage - we never went to bed with bad feelings."

They bought a farm in Kapaldo and specialised with the movement of the market.

"When dairy went flop, we went into cattle," she said.

"Then when grain prices went flop, the family moved on so we sold it and came to town."

The now 83-year-old is busier than ever, with a weekly packed schedule consisting of tai chi, lawn bowls, patchwork, activities at Ridgehaven, and Friday night visits to the RSL.

"Currently I love cards, like 500 cards, and I do that at Ridgehaven," she said.

In fact, the majority of her life has consisted of exploring different hobbies and skills.

"I taught myself to play the organ," she said.

"When I was at school I had about three months tuition but all I could really remember from that was where the C was."

She is a long-time lawn bowler, and has been the ladies single champion at Monto Bowls Club 10 times - the highest of anyone.

From the age of 40, she decorated cakes for 30 years, and in that time did 30 wedding cakes.

Jewellery making is another of her specialties, and she loves to make earrings and necklaces.

Sylvia is also known for her quilting.

Her work is displayed all throughout her house, but she likes to share with others too.

She recently finished a quilt for a Ridgehaven auction.


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