If it hadn’t been for a street poster showing a miserable couple in rainy England on one side and the same couple enjoying sunny Australia on the other, Bill Mearns and his wife Sheila might not call Hobart home. And that would have been Tasmania’s loss, because Bill Mearns creates extraordinary and evocative maritime paintings.
Originally from Dundee in Scotland, Bill, Sheila and their three young sons were living in the English Midlands, where Bill worked as a construction manager, before they came to Australia in 1970. It wasn’t an accident they ended up in Tasmania. Our spectacular coastline, with its numerous bays and inlets, meant Bill Mearns felt immediately at home. He didn’t miss Scotland at all. “If Scotland had Tasmania’s climate, it would be terrific!” he said. In Scotland, “You can be in a beautiful part of the country and not see your hand in front of your face.”