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.