Learning from Margaret and Ben

Last week the ABC’s Artscape broadcasted a beautiful program about the life and work of Margaret Olley.
An ABC Arts blog post about the program, Margaret Olley: A Life in Paint, links to the program and another program about her, Miss Olley.
An exhibition of photographs, See you tomorrow at 2, taken by Greg Weight in Margaret’s studio opened yesterday (29 July) at the Australian Galleries.
I thought the Artscape program was one of the best documentaries I have seen. There was a great amount of conversation with and about Margaret. I loved her studio home and the aesthetic it created.
As the documentary progressed I was struck forcefully by the way Margaret talked about observation, composition and light.
Ben Quilty was in the program too. I had seen his Archibald Prize winning portrait of Margaret in 2011 and read that when he first asked her to sit for him she refused: “Margaret didn’t understand why anyone would want to see a portrait of her.” She did relent and Ben was ableĀ  to celebrate a friend and mentor who had a “powerful bearing on my career.” The portrait is in oil on linen in a bright palette which paid “homage to Olley’s famous studio which is full of striking colour and “translucent works- in-progress”.”
By the end of the program I was thinking that whenever I talk about observation I will have a new language to share. I was enchanted by the studio (Margaret’s home) and it encouraged me to think about learning spaces and creativity. Margaret’s artifacts from her studio will be relocated to the Tweed River Art Gallery.
I wonder if education and sport can learn from the possibilities created by translucent works in progress.
Photo Credit
Margaret Olley (ABC Arts)


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