Family Influences

I don't want my Blog to be just about an exhibition of artists, especially only ones I'm interested in. I want to have variety of information including the unexpected. And sometimes I will make it a bit personal so that you better understand me and my background.

I admit that I'm always shocked when I meet someone who says, "I'm not interested in art." To me it's a bit like saying, "I'm not interested in food." So what is the impetus to someone wanting to paint (or not), but definitely being interested in art in its many forms?

In my case it started from childhood. My father's family were painters and decorators of houses though only my grandfather to my knowledge actually indulged in his short life in drawing. I have his sketch book and here are a couple of examples of his work.

My paternal grandmother was a milliner and her favourite picture was the lid of a biscuit tin her husband had given her which she had framed after his tragic death at 34. It hung on the wall in her home directly in her line of sight from her arm chair and is one of my most treasured possessions.
Both my parents were artistic. My father restored antique furniture and always explained something by drawing it. I have his drawing instruments and love playing with them. My mother, a dressmaker and brilliant needleworker took up painting in her 90s. Here are a couple of examples.

The walls of our house were painted olive greens and mustard colours and plastered with images from the Dutch and Flemish masters' portfolios. It is little wonder I love these painters though I wasn't too keen on the Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals hanging above my bed! My uncle (a fashion shoe designer) who lived in England after the WW11 introduced me to the English artist Lawrence Lowry and passed on his Lowry prints to me in my teens.

But was this interest fostered at school? Oh no! I remember one art teacher suggesting he burn my paintings! I wonder if he would get away with it in today’s education culture? Another art teacher was a member of the Communist Party and her sister ran the Communist book shop in Bendigo (my home town). We thought it would help our marks if we painted everything red- red gum trees, people wearing red clothes, red houses, everything was red.

Outside home we were also surrounded by art. The Bendigo Art Gallery is now of international reputation but it has always been an outstanding gallery which we frequently visited growing up.

So those of you who belong to my young subscribers, plan next holidays to take your children to a gallery. Of course we have locally the brilliant Monash Gallery of Art which is fabulous and constantly exhibiting interesting artists, photographers, and scuptors. And the National Gallery of Victoria is of course superb. I'm about to visit to view the Triennial Exhibition which I believe is excellent featuring the work of over 100 artists and designers from 32 countries, covering art and design, across cultures, scales, geographies and perspectives.

And what kind of paintings do I have on my walls now? I have several lithographs and paintings done by Croatian naive artists (we will learn more about these in a later Blog), three icons with the one of St George and the Dragon my favourite.

Also photographs by my friend the photographer Darron Davies, Lithographs by the Italian painter Norberto and one of my favourites is an early print of The Victory, Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar 1805.
So, you can see, a very eclectic taste.

Please share your favourite local gallery with me. I know at least one of you works in a gallery as a volunteer so let’s hear about it. And for my international subscribers please tell me about your
favourite gallery. Anywhere in the world.

Day 14 Painting the Town: Adding the Church Video has been uploaded onto Facebook at Anne-Newman-Artist

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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