Hayward Veal was a showman as well as an artist and he called his style Perceptual Impressionism. The detail of the subject wasn’t important to him – his only interest was the colour and tone. Through economical and confident brush strokes he was able to extract the essence of the subject while maintaining the integrity of the scene. He was devoid of lofty ideas about humanity and the arts.
Veal’s showmanship and unique teaching methods enabled him to draw crowds of over 100 to his shows. At one such show in Florida in 1956 the arts reviewer Charles Benbow was to say “His style of painting will help you become interested in the tremendous variety of nature …such demonstrations are valuable for painters with immature styles and for experiencing another point of view on art and in this case, for a good show.”
Veal had a number of quirky methods to eliminate detail. Often he would survey his subject through reversed binoculars and he regularly painted wearing triple sunglasses – both these methods were successful in eliminating the nonessential. He had an aversion to the unnecessary and knew that by including the basics of form through colour and tone, that the mind’s eye would insert the rest.
As well as being a talented painter, teacher and entertainer he was a mentor to numerous Australian artists and when he moved to London in 1951 to teach and exhibit, his door was always open.
Veal returned to Australia in 1968 and unfortunately died in the same year. He was only 55 and at the height of his powers as a painter.