ART BEAT: Winston Churchill – reflections about painting as a pastime

THE ARTIST IN HIS ROOM.

A LONG CANOPY OF TREES.

 

REFLECTION ON THE CULTIVATION OF A HOBBY BY A STATESMAN-AUTHOR-AND ARTIST.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

THE CULTIVATION OF A HOBBY … IS THEREFORE A POLICY OF FIRST IMPORTANCE TO A MAN OR WOMAN. THE GROWTH OF ALTERNATIVE MENTAL INTERESTS IS A LONG PROCESS.

THE SEEDS MUST BE CAREFULLY CHOSEN; THEY MUST BE FALL ON GOOD GROUND; THEY MUST BE SEDULOUSLY TENDED IF THE VIVIFYING FRUITS ARE TO BE AT HAND WHEN NEEDED.

THE MUSE OF PAINTING CAME TO MY RESCUE – OUT OF CHARITY AND OUT OF CHIVALRY, BECAUSE AFTER ALL ‘SHE’ HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ME …

SOME EXPERIMENTS ONE SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY WITH THE CHILDREN’S PAINT BOX LED ME TO PROCURE THE NEXT MORNING A COMPLETE OUTFIT FOR PAINTING IN OILS. HAVING BOUGHT THE COLOURS, AN EASEL, AND A CANVAS, THE NEXT STEP WAS TO BEGIN.

BUT WHAT A STEP TO TAKE!

THE PALETTE GLEAMED WITH BEADS OF COLOUR; FAIR AND WHITE ROSE THE CANVAS; THE EMPTY BRUSH HUNG POISED, HEAVY WITH DESTINY, IRRESOLUTE IN THE AIR. MY HAND SEEM ARRESTED BY A SILENT VETO.

CHURCHILL STARTING PAINTING IN 1915. ALL UP, HE PRODUCED HUNDREDS OF PAINTINGS. AN ACCOMPLISHED AMATEUR ARTIST, AND HE USED THE PSEUDONYM “CHARLES MORIN”. MANY PAINTINGS ARE IN PRIVATE COLLECTIONS.

BUT AFTER ALL, THE SKY ON THIS OCCASION WAS UNQUESTIONABLY BLUE; AND PALE BLUE AT THAT. THERE COULD BE NO DOUBT THAT BLUE PAINT MIXED WITH WHITE SHOULD BE PUT ON THE TOP PART OF THE CANVAS.

ONE REALLY DOES NOT NEED TO HAVE HAD AN ARTIST’S TRAINING TO SEE THAT. IT IS A STARTING POINT OPEN TO ALL. SO VERY GINGERLY I MIXED A LITTLE BLUE PAINT ON THE PALETTE, AND THEN WITH A VERY SMALL BRUSH, AND THEN WITH INFINITE PRECAUTION MADE A MARK ABOUT AS BIG AS A BEAN UPON THE AFFRONTED SNOW-WHITE SHIELD.

AT THAT MOMENT THE LOUD APPROACHING SOUND OF A MOTOR CAR WAS HEARD IN THE DRIVE. FROM THIS CHARIOT THERE STEPPED SWIFTLY AND LIGHTLY NONE OTHER THAN THE GIFTED WIFE OF SIR JOHN LAVERY.

“PAINTING! BUT WHAT ARE YOU HESITATING ABOUT? LET ME HAVE A BRUSH – THE BIG ONE”.

THE CANVAS GRINNED IN HELPLESSNESS BEFORE ME. THE SPELL WAS BROKEN. THE SICKLY INHIBITIONS ROLLED AWAY. I SEIZED THE LARGEST BRUSH AND FELL UPON MY VICTIM WITH BERSERK FURY.

I HAVE NEVER FELT ANY AWE OF A CANVAS SINCE. IN HIS LIFETIME, CHURCHILL WENT ON TO PRODUCE HUNDREDS OF PAINTINGS MANY OF WHICH ENDED UP IN PRIVATE COLLECTIONS.

<< PAINTING AS A PASTIME BY WINSTON CHURCHILL; SATURDAY EVENING POST, SPRING. 1972.

COMING: ARTBEAT -- ADOPH HITLER AND SOME PEOPLE CALLED HIM A “FAILURE” AND ‘MEDIOCRE”.

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Margaret Olley – life and art are rolled into one

MARGARET OLLEY: WINNER OF 2011 ARCHIBALD PRIZE BY BEN QUITY. SHE WAS A GENEROUS DONOR AND MENTOR TO EMERGING ARTISTS.

THE LIFE OF MARGARET OLLEY CAME TO END 10 YEARS AGO. SHE DIED IN JULY 2011. SHE WAS 88. BARRY PEARCE, HEAD CURATOR OF AUSTRALIAN ART AT THE ART GALLERY OF NSW, WROTE THIS PIECE IN 1996.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

MARGARET OLLEY IS ONE OF THE MOST CHARISMATIC AND RESPECTED PERSONALITIES IN THE AUSTRALIAN ART WORLD. SHE HAS BEEN PAINTEDAND DRAWN BY MANY ARTISTS OVER FIVE DECADES.
PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS IMAGE IS THE EARLIEST BY PAINTING BY WILLIAM DOBELL. DOBELL’S 1948 PORTRAIT OF HER WON THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE AND IS ON PERMANENT DISPLAY AT THE ART GALLERY OF NSW.

SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUTSPOKEN. HER FRANK OPINIONS ABOUT THE STATE AND PATRONAGE OF CONTEMPORARY ART ARE RENOWN. SHE IS MAGNANIMOUS WITH HER TIME AND MONEY TO ALL PRACTITIONERS OF ART, YOUNG OR OLD, DEAD OR ALIVE.

SHE EVEN ANTICIPATED DISAPPROVAL OF WHAT SHE MIGHT SEE BUT THIS WOULD NOT PREVENT HER FROM VISITING AN EXHIBITION. SHE SPEAKS HER MIND OPENLY BUT IS RARELY DISCOURAGING.

THIS IS ONE OF THE CONTRADICTIONS ABOUT MARGARET OLLEY. SHE IS MEDIA-SHY. SHE WAS FORTUNATE IN MANY WAYS TOO. HER PAINTINGS REFLECTED ON THE THINGS SHE LOVED.

MARGARET IS ECCENTRIC. SHE IS A COLLECTOR, BON VIVANT, TRAVELLER, COMMENTOR, RACONTEUR, FANTASTIC HOUSE DECORATOR. TO SIT AT HER TABLE IS TO SOMEHOW BE AT THE HEART OF THINGS.

THERE IS A CONTRADICTION ABOUT MARGARET OLLEY. WITHIN HER CLOISTERED AND COLOURFUL EXTERIOR IS AN ELUSIVE AND MEDIA-SHY BEING. THIS IS BECAUSE SHE IS ABOVE ALL A PAINTER; A PAINTER OF THEMES HERMETIC AND SELF-SUFFCIENT.

HER SUBJECT IS TIME-HONOURED AND REFLECTS A WORLD THAT IS VERY CLOSE TO HER.

SHE IS FORTUNATE IN MANY WAYS. THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF COLLECTORS WILLING TO ACQUIRE HER PAINTINGS. HER NETWORK OF FRIENDS AND ADMIRERS IS VAST.

WHILE IT IS NOT EXPECTED FOR EVERY ARTIST TO BE LIKEABLE, TO LIVE WITH A MARGARET OLLEY PAINTING IS TO EXPERIENCE THE TRASFIGURATION OF A PASSIONATE AND HIGHLY FOCUSSED PERSONALITY INTO ART.

HER PAINTING ARE REFLECTIONS OF THE THINGS SHE LOVES, AND WHICH EMBELLISH THE CENTRE OF HOW SHE PREFERS HER EXISTENCE TO BE.

<< ADAPTED FROM WOMEN’S VIEW, 1996, PAGES 28 AND 29. THE SMITH FAMILY FOR VIEW CLUBS OF AUSTRALIA.

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Dazzle Razzle Olympics Games: New sports present gold-medal performance

A BMX BIKE IN ACTION.

SURFING – MEN’S AND WOMEN’S EVENTS ARE EXPECTED TO DO WELL AT THE TOYKO OLYMPICS 2021.

FRANK MORRIS

SURFING

HAWAIIAN ARCHIPELAGO IN THE 1870s IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE FIRST ACCOUNTS OF SURFBOARDING AS WE KNOW IT TODAY. SURFBOARDS MADE THEIR WAY SOUTH, TO AUSTRALIA, ABOUT THE SAME TIME AS THE FIRST SURFING NEWSPAPER, THE SURF, SET THE SCENE IN 1917.

IN THE 1920s, THE UNDISPUTED WAS C.J. (SNOW) McALISTER, PICTURE TAKEN IN MID-1960s, WAS ONE OF THE ALL-TIME-GREATS OF SURFBOARD RIDING. HE HAD BEEN RIDING WAVES FOR 50 YEARS AND STARTED ON A 65LB BROARD MADE OF REDWOOD.

HE WAS UNDISPUTED ASSOCIATION CHAMPION FROM 1924 THROUGH TO 1928.

NOW, AS AN OLYMPIC SPORT, AUSTRALIA IS EXPECTED TO PERFORM WELL.

BMX FREESTYLE

BMX RACING IS ALREADY AN OLYMPIC GAMES EVENT SPORT BUT IT WILL SOON BE JOINED BY THE FREESTYLE COMPETION. HERE THE RIDER WILL DO JUMPS, FLIPS OR OTHER TYPE OF RIDES. THE SPORT IS ADRENALINE-CHARGED AND ENTERTAINING.

CLIMBING

THREE INDOOR ROCK-CLIMBING EVENTS, WHICH WILL TEST A COMPETITORS’ AGILITY AND ABILITY, AND THE DIFFERENT WAYS THEIR SPEEDS, HOW HIGH THEY CLIMB, AND HOW EFFICIENTLY THEY CAN DO THE COURSE. THIS IS A HIGHLY TECHNICALLY AND CHALLENGING EVENT.

<< BACKGROUD IS FROM COLES HEALTH & BEAUTY MAGAZINE, MAY 2021.

COMING: SOME PIN-UPS OF MARILYN MONROE – THEY’RE BIGGER THAT LIFESIZE.

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Ruth’s Reminiscences: 1926 General Strike – police turned a blind eye!

GENERAL STRIKE: MINERS DOWN TOOLS.

GENERAL STRIKE: THE BUSES WERE BURNT IN THE STREETS. IN MOST CASES THEY ENDED UP A RIGHT OFF.

ALAS, THE ROT HAD SET IN. THE UNION HAD BETRAYED AND DESERTED ITS MEMBERS.

FRANK MORRIS

THE STORY SO FAR: Ruth was one of five children born of working of class parents in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was 1900. She recalls a tragic happening from the Boer War, the crippling miners’ strike of 1909 and the struggle of the “have” and “have nots”, the deprivation suffered by thousands of families, including her own, during the First World War and the loss her brother, William, in the ravaging ‘flu epidemic. “I remember how very much my parents have aged,” recalled Ruth. “It was a bad epidemic; mum, dad and I were all sick at the same time.” But a malady of a different kind was just around the corner.

Ruth continues:

WHEN THE THEY CAME BACK FROM THE WAR THEY HAD LITTLE CHANCE OF EMPLOYMENT. JOBS WERE SCARCE AND THIS WAS THE CALALYST OF MUCH UNREST AND HARDSHIP.

In her book, The Town That was Murdered, Ellen Wilkinson, has structured a revealing history of the Tyneside (and the small towns). In the book she refers to Jarrod, one of the towns hit by the closures of the shipbuilding yards, and the long march of the unemployed movement of angry, hungry men and women looking for suckling.

The General Strike of 1926 was a period I’ll never forget! The strike was in support of the miners (who were resisting the demands of colliery owners that they should work longer for less pay).

There were restrictions, but I think the police turned a blind eye because we women managed to do a good job. For the first time, my future sister-in-law and I ventured in a pub and sold many badges.

The Transport Union and the Railway Unions soon became involved in the strike. There was a tremendous support among the workers.

Organisation in the Newcastle area was excellent and working well. The strike committee room was well manned night and day, a daily bulletin was issued giving vital news of what was happening in other townships.

The view of many unions was (and I think they were right) that it was initially the first time that Britain was near to challenging the Capitalist system.

“I REMEMBER ‘BLACK FRIDAY’ PRECISELY HOW IT HAPPENED,” RUTH SAID. “I REMEMBER THAT DAY VERY WELL. ‘BLACK FRIDAY’ COULD NOT BE ANY BLACKER FOR THE NATION AS A WHOLE”.

Largely, transport was in chaos. What newspapers were issued (at the time) gave only garbled reports, many of which were deliberate lies about the strikers giving up and returning to work.

The various strike committees had their work cut out in counteracting the lies.

Alas, the rot had set in! The Trade Union leaders betrayed and deserted their members. It was “Black Friday” * and I remember the day very well.

From that day on the depression worsened, said Ruth.

The days could not be any blacker for the nation’s workers.

Robert Clough, in his book The Public Eye, detailing the strike and its aftermath, writes: “For ten days the miners had the active sympathy of the nation’s workers before the general strike collapsed. For another thirteen weeks the miners remained defiant until the hunger drove them underground again.”

Writes Ruth: “The depression rolled on and things did not improve while I was living there.”

In 1928 the British Parliament passed the Equal Franchise Bill giving women over 21 the right to vote.

At 26, and engaged, Ruth voted for the first time in the 1929 general election. Industrial discontent and the General Strike proved the downfall of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and the rise of Ramsey MacDonald.

*Ruth could have been referring to “Red Friday.”

<< The original series Ruth Reminiscences published in the Australian Book Collector, October 2000.’

NEXT: JACK SAILS TO AUSTRALIA, RUTH FOLLOWS LATER ON. MORE GRIEVENCES AWAIT THEM.

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GINGER MEGGS: He’s been around for 100 years!

FINAL.

COMING: GINGER MEGGS: COMIC ART, COMIC STRIPS AND COMIC BOOK ANNUALS DON’T QUITE REACH THOSE RAREFIED PRICES IN AUSTRALIA. BUT THERE ARE PLENTY TO CHOOSE FROM, NOW IN THE 100TH YEAR OF HIS EXISTENCE.

YOUR NEXT GRAND YEARS WILL BE ON JULY 16.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 01 July 21

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