Saturday, 28 December 2013

Prudence Heward

At the Theatre 1928, Prudence Heward

I have always loved modern art from the 1920-40 period, particularly the paintings and prints done by Australian women like Ethel Spowers, Grace Cossington Smith, Margaret Preston and Nora Heyson.  I didn't know much about Canadian women artists from the same period until a Xmas gift from mom of a book entitled The Women of Beaver Hall, Canadian  Modernist Painters by Evelyn Walters.  One of the artists discussed in this book is Prudence Heward, born in 1896, died in 1947 at age 51. She grew up in a privileged Montreal  family, taking art classes locally and later studying in Paris throughout the 1920's.  Most of Heward's painting was done in her studio in Montreal, landscapes inspired by family country properties and portraits, often of her family and friends.
What I love about her figurative paintings is the engagement they make with the viewer.  In many of the portraits the subject's eyes are firmly placed on the viewer and at times appear quite scornful!.

Rollande, 1929, Prudence Heward

In Rolande, the subject appears quite defiant  and her leg is coming out of the picture frame which helps to engage the viewer.  I love the patterns within the picture and the defined foreground, mid and backgrounds.  This painting was well received by the art critics and was purchased by the National Gallery of Canada for $600 which was a huge amount at the time.
At the Theatre (see at the  top of this post)  is a painting which sets the viewer directly behind the theatre goers, so close you can nearly smell the au de cologne (? lily of the valley) and read the girl's program.  Again the strong patterns and full forms of the figures make this a lovely work.
Have a look below at some other portraits and the last one which is a charming landscape by this wonderful Canadian artist who many believed at the time to be one of the very best painters in Canada.

Girl under a tree 1931, Prudence Heward

Girl on a Hill, 1928, Prudence Heward

Anna by Prudence Heward

Girl in Yellow Sweater
Farmhouse and Car, Prudence Heward

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Clutch of Santa

Gifts from friends

Gosh we are at Christmas again, hard to believe it.  Wishing you all a fantastic holiday season and thank you for having a look at wearesoarty this year. There has been over 7000 hits looking at 97 blog posts since last January when it started.  Hope to have an even better 2014 with lots of new art and design.  I would love any comments if you have a chance and would appreciate any feedback.
Merry Christmas!

My Christmas tree and presents 2013

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas lights

I really love to go into the city at night especially at Christmas to see the lights and shop windows.  St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney is marvellous with  projections of Renaissance paintings, patterns, religious imagery or Santa Claus themes.  There was music too, including carollers, which also made the evening special.
 It is also wonderful to walk through Hyde Park to see the ghostly trees and experience the atmosphere.  Had a look at Sydney Town Hall too which was in the process of being lit but wasn't quite there for the visit this week.
It is well worth going into the city and  seeing St Mary's as well as the other Christmas stuff happening.
Here are some photos I took this week at St Mary's.

Crowds enjoying the projections on St Marys Cathedral

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Wendy Whiteley's garden

Pen Drawing by me

This beautiful garden is on Sydney harbour, overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park, at Lavender Bay.  It is a public space but was created by Wendy Whiteley who lives in a house overlooking the park.  The garden was unused and unloved railway land which Wendy cleared and planted, adding vistas and sculptures.
I joined a sketch group and we all enjoyed the afternoon here drawing.  There was a wedding happening in one area and it was very special seeing all that as well as enjoying the musicians playing.
Above is the result of my few hours at the park.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Society of Artists 1944 exhibition

I bought this catalogue at the Antique and Collectable fair and it's a little gem.  It was the publication which accompanied an annual exhibition at the Education Department's art gallery in Loftus St, Sydney. The cover design was by Margaret Preston and the painting on the back, which also advertises Berger's Paints, is also by her. There are 10 black and white reproductions of drawings and paintings within the catalogue and I have included 4 of them here.
There were 248 pieces of art shown at this exhibition, paintings and sculptures from 48 artists who were members of the society.
Margaret Preston has a number of paintings in this show.  She was 69 years old at that time and was very interested in "nationalism", using aboriginal motifs and colours in her own landscapes and still life. She was very popular, well known in magazines and the newspapers and  her paintings were priced at 15 to 20 guineas in this exhibition. I think 20 guineas converts to about 30 dollars. Now her paintings are worth substantially more.  I saw one painting going to auction of the Molong show with a price range of 50-70 thousand Australian dollars.
 Lloyd Rees who was also exhibiting in this exhibition was selling for quire a bit more than the popular Margaret Preston, at 65 guineas.  At that time male artists were seen to be more serious and therefore their artwork was of more value.  Woman artists were often seen as hobbyists.
This little booklet is so charming and it special to find arty ephemera.

This is the back cover and also shows a ?linocut by Margaret Preston

These pages are from the catalogue and I assume were works within the exhibition.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Beauty is fleeting

Lilies, ink by me

 Beauty is fleeting and flowers are a metaphor for this.  They are extraordinarily beautiful and with time they are ready for the compost, petals have fallen and stems are rotting.  The drawing above shows white and pink lilies looking pretty good and today the painting below shows them nearly at their end.

Lilies, gouache  and ink on statistic paper by me

Monday, 18 November 2013

Yoko Ono

It is pretty thrilling to have Yoko Ono in Sydney right now.  She is here to speak at the Opera House and also to open her survey exhibition, entitled War is Over (if you want it) at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. The exhibition which runs until Feb 23, 2014 encompasses sculpture, installation, film and performance.

Much of the show is participatory.  This maze is made out of acrylic or glass and at the centre is a telephone with the words "if the phone rings you know it is me".  Unfortunately the phone didn't ring when I was in there but it had rung the day before.  There weren't any members of the public there at the time but a gallery staff person answered the phone and was very pleased to say hello to Yoko.

This installation is made out of helmets filled with puzzle pieces of a sky.  This relates to Yoko's childhood when she witnessed the atomic bomb falling on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  She was a young girl at the time and she and her siblings were sent to the countryside for their own safety. The children spent a great deal of time looking at the sky and the sky has been an ongoing theme in Yoko's work.  The public are invited to take a puzzle piece from the helmets.

This exhibition includes Yoko's work from the 1960's up until artwork from the 2000's.  It also includes pieces done for Australia and this particular show.  One of these is 6 lemon scented eucalyptus trees plus tags that viewers are encouraged to affix to the branches. This piece recalls the Shinto temple trees of Yoko's childhood.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Okay a couple more dancing drawings, I can't help myself

 I continue to be interested in dancing drawings but maybe this will be the last for a while.  When looking at the old photos the background goings on were also fascinating.  I like the line that goes up behind the Queen's picture, likely the electric cord for the clock which would have hung above, out of sight.  The master of ceremonies and the judge behind with her fur collar are also great fun to see.

Ink and collage as well as tea staining

Girls dancing, pencil and collage of topographical maps from Canada

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Sculpture by the Sea

Coast with sculpture entitled Polyrock by Bev Goodwin

Sculptures by the Sea is an annual sculpture show in Sydney which runs for a very short 3 weeks until November 10.  The sculptures sit along the coast between Bondi Beach and Tamarama Beach . There are over 100 sculptures by artists from all over the world.  It is a wonderful experience to walk along the coastline and to see all those wonderful artworks is even better. If you have a chance please go.

Kirsten Lewis, Concealed Craft

Vince Vozzo, Moon Buddha
Carole Purnelle and Nuno Maya, Plastic World

Ken Unsworth, There's many a slip

view of  part of the walk

David McCracken, Diminish and Ascent
Chen Wenling, Rainbow
Qian Sihua, Bubble number 5

Lucy Humphrey, Horizon

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

More Ballroom

Pencil and collage.  I used topographic and city maps from Canada.

I have been enjoying making some more drawings on the dancing theme.  Here are a couple-

Pencil drawing, I liked the onlookers but they weren't looking at this couple

 Here are the old photos, found at a market, which were used to make the drawings

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Ballroom dancing

Self portrait and Dancing, drawing and collage by me
 Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about dancing and happened upon a little collection of vintage photos of people at dances.  The one I have used in this group of drawings was the best as there were details that the others didn't have.  I have used different techniques, the first one is a mono print.  I rolled some ink on a little piece of glass and then used a stick to make the marks.  Then a thin piece of Japanese rice paper was placed on top, rubbed and voila... the image seen here

Mono print by me
Ink drawing using a stick on map of Blue Mountains

Pencil drawing by me