A year at home
External exams in the large city hall were very daunting. My mother kept her promise; I left after passing the Schools Board, happy to be away from boarding school. Matriculation wasn’t for me. Mum kept me home the following year. I did part of a typing course and also became totally absorbed in painting and drawing classes at the local Tech. Christopher talked me into going to art school. He painted my portrait in his holidays; but I later painted over it, never appreciating seeing myself, and I didn’t realise its future historical significance.
Religion had always interested me. ‘Why don’t you go to Bible College?’ the young minister asked, when he came to afternoon tea. I had so many questions, but he answered none. He was a total loss. I certainly didn’t want to go to Bible College.
Conventional religion didn’t answer my questions. There were so many things I couldn’t accept. It was the following year that I discovered the Quakers, or Friends. Questions were welcomed amongst Friends. Because they had no set dogma there were all sorts of interesting people attracted to the Meeting House. One accepted principle was pacifism, and this appealed to me. They supported the young conscripts who didn’t want to join the army and fight in Vietnam. My mother and two sisters had been sent to The Friends’ School, as my grandfather had greatly admired the Quakers. Here my mother’s distaste for meat was accepted, and she was able to go home and tell her family she no longer had to eat meat.
In the winter of 1963 Uncle Henry took my mother and me to Queensland for a holiday. We stopped in Melbourne and Sydney on the way, catching up with Henry’s friends in expensive restaurants. After dinner at my first night club, the Latin Quarter, we drove around Kings Cross looking at the night life.
Hiring a car in Brisbane we travelled up to Rockhampton and then west, where we met distant relatives on a large cattle station. Such generous hospitality seems to be the way of the outback. Their closely- knit family was essential for survival and happiness, living in such isolation.
We then holidayed at Surfer’s Paradise. The tropical fruits were delicious; feeding the parrots and watching the dolphins made the holiday seem exotic. Relaxing under palm trees, enjoying the warmth and tasting fresh coconuts, made the Tasmanian winter storms an unreality.
In Devonport, Vita Endelmanis helped me design smocks to wear at art school; also suggesting
how I could wear stockings and skivvies to match, underneath the smocks. It was good to have a mentor, as I’d never before been encouraged to think about any form of creative dress, or what might suit me. I loved black and coloured stockings.
Mrs. Westcombe, the butcher’s wife, was my chaperone when I went to the summer school in January before I started art school. We stayed at a small hotel nearby. It was an enjoyable and appropriate introduction to art school as it was held in the same Gothic building, as the art school, up on the Hobart Domain. Going out watercolour painting in Battery Point and starting my sketch- book helped me feel I was on the way to becoming an art student.
The year at home was wonderful. During the year I had a boyfriend called Des. I met him at an end-of-school year party in Sheffield. He wore a cadmium-yellow jumper, which suited him very well. He was studying a trades teaching course at Technical College in Hobart and I only saw him during holidays. We went to the drive-in. My mother warned me of what could happen there. I came home most disappointed or was it relieved? This friendship fizzled when I went to Hobart.
Today will be spent preparing for our trip to the city tomorrow. Shopping, cooking etc.; that means cooking a veg. lasagne to take to the city to visit baby Hazel. Our trip is ostensibly to take the painting to the framers, (an excuse to visit baby Hazel). Each painting takes approx. 3 months, so it’s a big deal when each is completed. Susan Gordon-Brown takes these beautiful photographs for us, so they are documented professionally. These days when galleries ask for digital images, there can be other specifications that are far too difficult for us to decipher. The world is becoming so complex, an artist is expected to be other than a painter.
Adam has two paintings in a group show at the Sophie Gannon Gallery, 2 Albert Street, Richmond, Victoria, Australia showing until 24th May.
Christopher has the above work to be exhibited at the Mornington Gallery, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, 2014 National Works on Paper. Exhibition dates 23 May – 20 July.
Just in case any of you are in the vicinity and would like to see some beautiful paintings.
Making felt animals is one of my evening occupations. Just thought I should capture a batch before I send them off to two new babies. Both girls, one being born on it’s grandmother’s birthday. Very well done! Bells on the bottom are added. These can be hung near the change table and with a touch, they twirl around.
The little paintings (in the background of the red animals) are painted by Andrew McLean, a friend, painter, and children’s book illustrator. (Sorry Andy, this photo doesn’t do them justice)! He and Janet have their own websites, if you are interested to look them up. Janet McLean is a children’s book author and many of their books have been done together. mcleanpicturebooks.com and http://www.the little bigbookclub.com.au
I shall look forward to some feedback from those of you who are interested in Children’s Literature and have time to look up their webpages.
The first photo has an early painting of Christopher Pyett’s in the background.
Having heard from my brother, Graeme, that my last chapter ‘needs some work’, I reread it and agree with him. It has since had major changes, and I feel happier with it. I don’t think I’ll post it again, as the general theme remains, though better organized.
2014 approaches with more challenges. Christopher is considering supporting the weavers re-work his Dunkeld paintings into a large tapestry. The Australian Tapestry Workshop has yet to confirm the details. The original tapestry, that can be seen on Chris’ website, was burnt in the fire of the Conference Centre at Dunkeld, Victoria, late this year. It was a magnificent tapestry and to re-weave it is quite daunting. It depicted skies and was woven to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Mail Hotel.
Here is a photo of us taken in our garden by Susan Gordon-Brown when she came to take photos of Chris’ paintings.