G’day viewers, my name is Graeme Stevenson and I’d like to invite you to come on
a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the
series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every
family throughout the world, and lots of times there’s an artist
deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties,
uncles and mums and dads, and come and see how some of
the best artists in Australia do what they do. (GRAEME) Well g’day viewers and
welcome back to Colour In Your Life. Well it’s a great honour for
me to be where I am today. I’m with one of the premiere
artists in Australia, Anne Marie Graham. Anne,
welcome to the show. (ANNE) Thank you very much
for having me. That’s lovely. (GRAEME) This lady has
an unbelievable history, and a fascinating journey
through her life as an artist. You’ve had seventy-five one-woman shows? – (ANNE) Have I?
– (GRAEME) Yes. – (ANNE) Seventy-five.
– (GRAEME) That’s in your portfolio. (ANNE) Well when you’re ninety
years of age it’s not difficult. (GRAEME) It’s just incredible.
This lady is ninety years of age. You’ve been painting for eighty-two years. (ANNE) That’s true. (GRAEME) That’s incredible
and you started, actually we’re just going to
screen up one of the first pictures that Anne did when
she was eight years of age. And literally escaped
Austria in many senses, the second World War, to come to Australia
when you were thirteen years of age. (ANNE) Just turned fourteen. (GRAEME) Yeah, that’s amazing. – And then…
– (ANNE) Very lucky. (GRAEME) Oh it’s incredible isn’t it? – (ANNE) Yes.
– (GRAEME) I mean… (ANNE) I think life is luck
half the time, really, don’t you? (GRAEME) It’s just fascinating, and the history behind what
you’ve done is just extraordinary. Your style is a very individual style. – (ANNE) Thank you.
– (GRAEME) It’s a beautiful style. It’s so representative of
life, and life in general. I suppose with everything
that you’ve been through in your life that would have been
part of putting that process together. (ANNE) When my idea of expressing art as well as life in
general is to be positive. There’s just so much nonsense of negativity
on television and newspapers and so on. – I won’t be part of it.
– (GRAEME) Yeah. A lot of the work you do as well is very much as a woman who’s
an advocate for women as well. – (ANNE) Yes, of course.
– (GRAEME) Can you explain a little about that for me? (ANNE) To explain it, where do you start? What do you start? Maybe I’ll start with the end bit. After having had children, a husband,
children, grandchildren, etcetera, and it was expected at my early age, to be a good housewife. Which
meant that you don’t really work, but you are a good mother, and so on. And I hope I was. But the point
was, I was always wanting to paint. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (ANNE) And the time wasn’t there, and then when feminism
reared it’s not so ugly head, I felt very strongly about
it and did a painting. It’s called the ‘Fountain of
the Middle Aged Housewife’. And it’s a large painting
in a market scene, relating to domesticity and so on. We have sculptures of heroes of course, war heroes, politicians, composers, you name it, but
not of a middle aged housewife. Now I feel very please
that mine is the first to have been painted,
and is yet to be sculpted. (GRAEME) That’s fantastic, it’s fantastic. But we’re going to, you’re going to
show us a couple of process today. Now you work on the best
materials. You work on fine linen, – even the stretchers that you use.
– (ANNE) You want me to demonstrate how I do a painting? (GRAEME) Yeah, how you put
bits and pieces together. Obviously you’re an avid sketcher as well. (ANNE) I love sketching. (GRAEME) Compiling those pictures, but we’re going to follow through
with some of the process Anne is going to do. It’s a
real privilege to be here today. For somebody who has got
such an amazing history and a magnificent artist as well. You’re really going to enjoy the day so let’s get something organised from there. (ANNE) Now a small canvas here. The different kinds of canvas’s, all linen. The linen is very tightly stretched.
I’ll show you the back of it. Can you see that on the screen there? – Beautifully done.
– (GRAEME) Magnificent. (ANNE) That’s very important
to have a good stretcher. I’d like to show you the next
stage of getting a painting done. (ANNE) I have to show you the brushes
that I use before you see anything else. – (GRAEME) That’s a great idea.
– (ANNE) And they are not only the tiniest watercolour brushes. Sable, they’re about
thirty-five dollars each. – (GRAEME) Oh goodness, okay.
– (ANNE) Can you believe it? And they don’t last very long. But in order to do detail you
have to. And then of course there are larger brushes
like these. They’re also pretty good and Sable. I don’t know what you use Graeme? – (GRAEME) I use the same, yeah, absolutely.
– (ANNE) Do you? – (GRAEME) To get…
– (ANNE) You have to have quality brushes. (GRAEME) If you don’t, your picture’s done. (ANNE) Well, having told you
how expensive my brushes are, I have to tell you how
inexpensive my palette is. I don’t use a big palette
like a lot of artists do. I use jars that are given to me when
the jam or marmalade has been taken out. At Christmas time I had
thirty-six jars given to me. – (GRAEME) That’s a lot of jars.
– (ANNE) The advantage is, that at the end of the day I put the lid on and it doesn’t dry out. Much better than putting it on glass. – Some artists use glass, don’t they Graeme?
– (GRAEME) Yes, they do. Yes. (ANNE) And so there you are, that’s
why you see so many jars here. It isn’t that I like jam so much. (GRAEME) But you mix the
colour before hand on a palette and then put it into the jar? – (ANNE) I mix it in the jar.
– (GRAEME) Oh okay, alright. – (ANNE) Why not?
– (GRAEME) Fantastic. (ANNE) It depends on the quantity actually. If it’s only a small
amount I don’t use the jar. But if it’s a big quantity,
like a certain colour you mix it in the jar.
And use a larger brush, voilà. Such as this. You don’t
have to have a perfect point to the brush. (GRAEME) But this would help to keep
your paint very consistent as well. (ANNE) That is true. Because it’s
hard to mix some subtle colour. (GRAEME) Yeah. (ANNE) Alright, now you’ll
see the back of me for a bit. And I’m just filling in the space between the leaves and the flowers. (GRAEME) There was a gentleman
when you were in Vienna, – Professor…
– (ANNE) Oh Professor Czech. (GRAEME) Czech. Francis Czech. (ANNE) Frances Czech, yes he was actually became world famous. Australia copied his method of teaching to give to children and I was lucky enough to have been chosen as one of
them when I was eight years old. So God, that’s a hundred years ago I think. – Wait a minute. It’s…
– (GRAEME) Eighty-two years ago. (ANNE) Well thank you. (ANNE) Eighty-two years ago. It does seam a long time but I am ninety and I don’t feel like ninety. And it’s wonderful to be ninety because now I can paint as much as I like. I
don’t have to wash dishes, I don’t have to iron clothes. Isn’t it divine to be old? One thing I have forgotten to tell you is the famous painting stick that I have for the last twenty years. Let me show you what it looks like. (GRAEME) It just keep
getting larger and larger. (ANNE) It is getting larger. – Well it was only a small one before.
– (GRAEME) Yeah. (ANNE) But this gets so dirty when
you lean it against the canvas, which I do to rest your arm. And it steadies your hand.
I couldn’t do without it. But of course eventually
that gets so dirty, that you keep on covering it, that’s why
it’s so big. It doesn’t have to be big. (GRAEME) It actually started
at the size of a ping-pong ball. (ANNE) How did you know? (GRAEME) And it’s gotten a little larger. (ANNE) It did indeed. It does grow. (GRAEME) But as you said,
they’re very essential. Particularly when you’re doing fine work. (ANNE) That’s right. So
you see, slowly but surely, you cover the canvas and start actually
modelling the individual leaves. The painting that I want
to do most is the next one. (GRAEME) Yes, of course. (ANNE) It always, doesn’t matter what
subject, it’s always the next one. (GRAEME) Yes. You look at your work and
you’ve got gatherings of people in parks, and families gathering together. (ANNE) So many subjects
that I could mention. As long as the subjects
that I portray are positive. I just don’t just don’t like repeating what the television or newspapers
do every day of the week. And I’m sick to death of hearing
nothing but negative things. So I concentrate on positivity. – (GRAEME) That’s fantastic.
– (ANNE) If there is such a word? (GRAEME) Yes, well there
is now. I can assure you. – Positivity.
– (ANNE) It’s a nice word. (GRAEME) So the oils that you use,
have you got a favourite oil at all? (ANNE) I use the best
quality Winsor and Newton. (GRAEME) Winsor and Newton, okay. (ANNE) You have to use the best
quality. Some just don’t last. (GRAEME) Yeah, but even
with your work, I mean painting for eighty-two years. It sounds odd to say that because
most people don’t even live that long. (ANNE) No that’s right. But I don’t only paint;
I’ve done other media like Silk Screen and Lithography. But drawing is my favourite medium really. I just absolutely adore it.
I use to go home from RMIT and on the tram, and I
used to wear sunglasses, whether the sun was shining or
not, so people couldn’t see that – I was drawing the people sitting opposite.
– (GRAEME) Oh right, okay. (ANNE) And now I choose a lighter green again, beautiful, look it
hasn’t dried or anything. It’s wonderful. Now I can shift it over here
so you can see better. Well now I use the actual shape of the leaf here. And then I will find that I have to touch up
the background of the dark. Which I won’t do it just yet
because lots of white still showing. (GRAEME) The funny part
about it, you being on the Colour In Your Life
television show, is that in 1957 when TV first started, you were actually doing a television show for art classes for adults and the young. (ANNE) I felt if children watch
television when it first started, and I think for a certain
extent it does apply they become too passive,
they aren’t creative enough. Consequently, to react to the new medium at the time, I taught them to be creative. And now I might use what I call my palette. Just another lid. When I mix the colours, this to light, so I mix a bit of dark with it. And then have it slightly
darker, you don’t want them all highlighted in this instance. (GRAEME) I was going to
say that’s a bigger jam lid. (ANNE) That’s just a jam lid. – (GRAEME) It’s another one.
– (ANNE) Have a good look. (GRAEME) Your family loves jam. (ANNE) Oh there could be something else. Could be some of my friends who donate, instead of bringing me chocolate,
they use to bring me these lids. (ANNE) It’s a shame, I love chocolate. (GRAEME) Well at least you
won’t get fat on jam lids. (ANNE) There’s a lot of
linseed oil in the paint itself. – (GRAEME) Yes.
– (ANNE) As you would know, being an artist. I love your work by the way, Graeme. (GRAEME) Thank you very much. (ANNE) I appreciate your work too. And then the final thing is to
get rid of these little white edges that happen to show. So I wash my brush properly. (GRAEME) So in developing
your style as a woman, and obviously an extensive career, what artists really stand
out as far as influencing you? (ANNE) I grew up in Vienna, and the museum that Dad took me to was the Kunsthistorisches Museum that had I think about thirteen or fifteen of Pieter Bruegel’s large paintings. And I absolutely adored it. And I think to this very
day, he’s my favourite artist. – (GRAEME) That’s fantastic.
– (ANNE) It is, isn’t it? Later on of course there were influences. Well, George Bell probably was the
best teacher I’ve ever come across. He lived in Melbourne and a
lot of our well-known artists who were roughly my age or a bit older would have gone at some stage
to George Bell. The reason being he’s the only artist who could teach objectively. I went to Kockasta in Salzburg. I went to Emilio Greco in Naples. One is sculpture, one is
modeling… I mean, one is painting. Emilio Greco, when he
came to correct my work, he turned mine into his. So I said Emilio if you don’t sign this
I’m leaving you because… – (GRAEME) Because you did it.
– (ANNE) He turned my style into his. Okay he couldn’t teach, and the same as Kockasta
he was not objective enough. At best they were second rate Kockasta. The students I mean, the
style it’s not good teaching. George Bell could detach himself from his own work and taught objectively
and it really was fabulous. It’s like composition with music. You would know with music you
have to learn certain things. One thing he could not
teach and nobody can, is emotion. How to express emotion. I mean, we learnt technique and all
the tricks of the trade as it were, but we didn’t learn how to express
emotion and that’s such a personal thing. (GRAEME) That’s such a good point. How
do you convey emotion in a painting? ? (ANNE) I can’t answer that. You’ve got to feel strongly about it. Choose the colours that
suit the subject, all that to create the mood.
Like composers and music. (ANNE) There are so many parallels in music and we just don’t have the vocabulary
in painting as the musicians have. (GRAEME) Yes. I’d like to you talk
about the fact that your work is in most of the museums and regional galleries across
Australia I think. That’s very impressive. (ANNE) Yes. That’s lucky. – (GRAEME) Lucky?
– (ANNE) Lucky. Yes, lucky. (GRAEME) No, I think with that many
museums that have got your work, it is beyond luck. (ANNE) Oh is it? Oh. (GRAEME) It comes down to
obviously being well respected (ANNE) Thank you. (GRAEME) Now your style
obviously is very meticulous, might be the best way to describe it. (ANNE) I don’t like accident effects and I want to be responsible
for every bit on the canvas. (GRAEME) And another thing that is amazing about your work, and you’re probably the only artist that I know
off that I’ve seen do this, is that you create paintings that are
very unconventional shapes as well. They’re like little
snippets out of a landscape. You actually cut the landscape
to suit the piece as well. (ANNE) Why do I have to fill in these
four corners when you don’t have to? Finish the painting where the
subject that you paint finishes. I have only started two years
ago these shaped canvas’s. People like them, but I think it takes a while for
people to get used to the fact that they’re no longer rectangles. I think a thousand years of
rectangles on the wall is enough. (GRAEME) That’s a good statement. Let’s have more shapes. (ANNE) Let’s have more shapes – why not? (GRAEME) That’s great.
Also your advocating of women in art, in comparison to
when you started as an artist compared to now, I mean there
really weren’t a lot of opportunities – for a woman in your day were there?
– (ANNE) No there weren’t. I remember an artist friend
of mine, her husband said ‘woman, your place is in the kitchen. When you’re finished there, go for it’. (GRAEME) Bare foot and pregnant? – (ANNE) Very difficult.
– (GRAEME) Yeah. (ANNE) Yes, no the attitude,
the Victorian attitude was still lingering on in my days. My husband was tolerant I must admit, and I did have a chance of going
overseas a couple of times for painting, but mostly it was expected
of women to stay at home, where now of course there
is much greater freedom for – women to do their own thing.
– (GRAEME) Yeah. (ANNE) So I’m very happy
to be in a retirement place where I don’t have to
wash, or cook, or iron. You name it, I don’t have
to do it, it’s wonderful. (GRAEME) It’s fantastic and
we really do have to thank the Coppin Royal Freemason’s Aged Care Facility for allowing us to be here as well. (ANNE) It is, it’s great
to have a studio here. – I can’t get out of it. How lucky can you be?
– (GRAEME) That’s fantastic isn’t it? (GRAEME) Fantastic. I mean literally you
walk into an artist’s studio in a nursing home and I don’t think, from what I can gather, – there’s too many of those in Australia.
– (ANNE) I don’t think so. (GRAEME) No, not at all. (ANNE) Anyhow they’re using, in the third floor new wing, about twenty-five of my large
paintings. I’m thrilled about that. – (GRAEME) That’s fantastic.
– (ANNE) Yes. (GRAEME) Yes and apart from the fact
that you’ve done a lot of travelling. You did have a great
friend who has passed on. (ANNE) June Stevenson, my painter friend. She was a George Bell
student, that’s how I met her. And she was in the same situation as I am, as far as not having enough time to work. But we did go on different
painting trips together. She was a very fine
painter, June Stevenson. I don’t forget her, ever. She’s now dead, she’s been
dead for quite some time. – (GRAEME) But she was really one of your best comrades.
– (ANNE) Oh yes. Now I use Titanium White to lighten my greens
for the accent on leaves. Not all of them, just
where you want highlights, mixed with the light green. (GRAEME) So when do you think
your next exhibition’s going to be? (ANNE) 2015, that’s this year. It will be a mixed exhibition
at Without Peer Gallery. But 2016 will be a Retrospective. I will exhibit stuff from when I was eight, when I was twelve, early work,
later work and present work. (GRAEME) And some of them are
up to three meters aren’t they? (ANNE) Some are big. (GRAEME) So how does an elderly
lady handle a painting that size? (ANNE) I’m not elderly. Wait until
I’m elderly then I’ll tell you. (GRAEME) Okay. I like
the attitude, it’s great. – (ANNE) Make the most of the day.
– (GRAEME) You’re only as young as you can paint. (ANNE) That’s a new saying.
I like it. May I use it? – (GRAEME) Absolutely.
– (ANNE) Thank you. (GRAEME) That’s excellent. Now there’s one piece that
we’ve put up and it’s a triptych and its ‘Children’s Games’.
A magnificent piece of work. And in the picture,
which is quite delightful, is you’ve actually put the children
playing twenty-four different… – (ANNE) Thirty-six if you please.
– (GRAEME) Thirty-six – different types of games.
– (ANNE) And I had to go to toy shops to see what the latest one was. That I’m not up to date
with like computer games. (GRAEME) That’s fantastic. (ANNE) The early ones
you know, like jumping. – Hopscotch, all…
– (GRAEME) Hopscotch. – (ANNE) Everything.
– (GRAEME) Marbles, the whole lot. – (ANNE) The whole lot.
– (GRAEME) That’s fantastic. What a brilliant piece. And I like some of the others
as well. ‘Heliconia’ – that’s got all the bright reds and you got all those
luminescent greens. I mean you seem to be able to make those oils pop. And then another piece that’s
called ‘Jungle with the Cassowary’. (ANNE) Nice subject,
it’s an exciting subject. (GRAEME) Well viewers, fantastic
day with an amazing creative woman with an incredible history. Seventy-five shows,
eighty-two years painting. – Anne Marie, thank you so much.
– (ANNE) Thank you for having me. – (GRAEME) For having us in your studio.
– (ANNE) I’ve enjoyed your company. (GRAEME) An absolute pleasure
and an incredible human being. To be around for ninety years and
have that dedication to your work – for so long is amazing.
– (ANNE) I hope many more years to come. (GRAEME) Absolutely, absolutely. Also Anne Marie has some
fantastic books out as well. This one here is ‘Images and Insights’. She’s actually negotiating with
the Melbourne Botanical Society at the moment about having a
permanent collection of her work in the Botanic Gardens, which I
think is just wonderful as well. If you want to come and
see Anne Marie’s work, you can go to annemariegraham.com.au and get in touch with her there. She has fabulous print collections,
obviously magnificent artwork under any circumstances. And also you can come and see her work, hopefully at some stage we
can get some of your work in our website as well. That’s colourinyourlife.com.au. And come in and like us at Facebook and if you come into YouTube
you can see us in there as well. But we’re going to head off now. We are heading back to where we come from
to put all these shows together for you guys. But before I go, remember, make sure you Put Some
Colour In Your Life guys. And we’ll see you next time. – Bye now. Bye.
– (ANNE) Good Bye.