Between the Lives: Partners in Art by Deborah Shepard

By Deborah Shepard

This interesting examine artists and their intimate companions takes 9 famous New Zealand and explores the numerous elements in their lives—particularly how the presence of an inventive significant other or soul mate affects the paintings they produce. Combining the pleasures of gossip with information regarding how those artists have carried out their lives, this illuminates a number of the issues present in the artists' work, poems, and flicks that revolve round their companions and the traces of manufacturing severe artwork in a small and remoted state. The comprise Gil and Pat Hanly, Colin and Anne McCahon, Sylvia and Peter Siddell, Frances Hodgkins and D. ok. Richmond, James ok. Baxter and Jacquie Sturm, Kendrick Smithyman and Mary Stanley, Rudall and Ramai Hayward, Toss and Edith Woollaston, and Meg and Alister te Ariki Campbell. All advised, 9 painters, six poets, filmmakers, and a photographer are included.

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It didn’t matter that she was asleep, I had no concern with the animation of expression that requires wakefulness, wanted to paint no smiles or flashing looks, only the planes and volumes of the object . ’. 18 Toss and Edith were willing to accept a standard of living that many would have considered substandard so that there would be at least some time for painting. They took pride in their self-sufficient way of life, based on the produce from an extensive vegetable garden. But inevitably there was criticism, especially of Toss.

At the end of that year, she won the art school prize and exhibited for the first time at the Otago Art Society’s annual exhibition. 4 There she worked on her new series of paintings and prints of still-life and landscape subjects as well as commissioned illustrations for use in teaching at the School of Medicine – work that she took over from fellow student Toss Woollaston. This was life at its best for a talented young woman painter. Working alongside the others in the studio gave her an opportunity to develop her understanding of modernism.

She completed the general art course at King Edward Technical College in Dunedin with mostly first-class passes, and won a Callander fee-paying scholarship for her second year of study. She was in her third year, studying an advanced course in design, life drawing, painting, still life, landscape and etching, when she met Colin McCahon in 1937. At the end of that year, she won the art school prize and exhibited for the first time at the Otago Art Society’s annual exhibition. 4 There she worked on her new series of paintings and prints of still-life and landscape subjects as well as commissioned illustrations for use in teaching at the School of Medicine – work that she took over from fellow student Toss Woollaston.

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