Now that I am seventy six I don’t have the energy or the impulse I once had. Most things of any note are done in middle years, when I wrote most of my books.
My on-going projects in retirement have been and still are my writing, my painting, and my Hanging Garden of Crows Nest (front and back).
Writing: As far as my writing is concerned I have some irons in the fire still, but with the advent of eBooks and iPads the future of the printed book is now under serious review. As a general rule I don’t like to talk too much about projects I am currently working on, so as not to jinx the process (for things most talked about are often lost).
Recent projects include production of a second edition of The Mullumbimby Kid (Woodbine Press, 2012), including new material obtained since the discovery of my brother Jim (in 2003), and the publication of my New Collected Poems (Kardoorair Press, Armidale, 2012), now ‘posted’, along with my New Selected Poems (Woodbine Press, 2010) on the Internet. These three books may be viewed and/or downloaded for free and shared. Hard-copy editions may be purchased from Woodbine Press (with images of the covers of all my books on the inside of the front and back cover pages).
In 2013 I published Oliver Bainbridge – Lord Nelson’s Great Grandson? (Woodbine Press).
In 2014 I published Mullumbimby Dreaming (Mullumbimby paintings and poems, Woodbine Press), that doubled as a catalogue for my (2014) Tweed River (Regional) Gallery Exhibition.
In 2015 I published a more expansive, glossy, hardcover Art Book, of both my paintings and my poems, called Stardust Painter-Poet (Edwin Wilson: Paintings and Poems), that doubled as a catalogue for my (2016) RAS Retrospective Painting Exhibition.
In 2017 I published Lord Nelson, Uncle Oliver and I, a much more expanded biography of my great-great uncle Frank Nelson (aka ‘Oliver Bainbridge’).
In 2018 I published Synthesis, a selection of poetry set to all the pencil drawings of Elizabeth McAlpine.
In 2019 I published the third book of my Poetic Memoirs, entitled: Long-Distance Poet: a Portrait of the Poet as an Old Fart, that will most-probably be my last significant book.
Painting: I still try to paint every morning, working and re-working small details, building up the layers and adjusting the colour balance. My Mullumbimby-themed painting exhibition at the Tweed River Gallery (Murwillumbah), entitled ‘Edwin Wilson: The Mullumbimby Kid’, ran from August to October 2014, with big visitation (who mostly came to see the Margaret Olley Installation at the same Gallery). This exhibition helped consolidate my reputation (as both a painter and a poet) in my Heartland. Following on from the publication of Stardust Painter-Poet I was elected as an Associate of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales, and secured my Retrospective RAS exhibition at the Lavender Bay Gallery, North Sydney (April, 2016), that was opened by John McDonald, Art Critic, with a favourable review in the Sydney Morning Herald, a really hard act to follow. In 2018 I had a landscape (‘Boogarem Falls’) hung in the Salon Des Refuses, and at the end of that same year I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales.
My longer-term aim is to try to paint fewer but hopefully better works.
Gardening: My ‘Hanging Garden of Crows Nest’ is small enough so as not to be a chore, a place of reflection and of beauty, in which to observe nature ‘red of tooth and claw’. In recent years I have planted a number of different-coloured farangipanis, to serve as hosts for epiphytes, while cultivating a smaller orchid collection (including some of our Latouria hybrids) in the back yard. Phil Spence named one of our dendrobium hybrids after me (registered Royal Horticultural Society at the end of 2014), Grex name Dendrobium Edwin Wilson.