Unlocking Margaret's House Still Life Challenges with Margaret Olley No 7: White Jug

Katie's quinces, 1976 by Margaret Olley (1)

The striking white jug that is the centrepiece of Margaret Olley ‘Katie’s Quinces’ 1976 is the inspiration for this still life challenge. The quince bush branches featured in the painting were brought to Olley by her friend’s daughter Katie as subject matter for painting. They reach up and out with beautiful, unpredictable lines, while the white jug with its tall, sleek elegance is a perfect juxtaposition to the full, humble forms of the brown vessels either side.2

In 2019, artist Pam Tippett was invited to spend a month making new work in response to Olley’s home studio re-creation. During this time Tippett re-staged a selection of objects against neutral backgrounds to create her own compositions for painting.2

In her work ‘Margaret’s white flour tin, jug and fruit bowl with lemons’ 2019, Tippett combined the jug with an aluminium flour tin from Olley’s kitchen and a stand from her sitting room, along with fresh lemons and a white cloth. This painting is both a tribute to Olley and to Olley’s great love for Italian still life painter Giorgio Morandi.2

In our arrangement inspired by ‘Katie’s Quinces’, we have used what is left of the actual quince bush branches painted by Olley in 1976. Today there are no leaves left at all, and only a few dried and desiccated quinces hold onto the remaining branches. However there is still, 44 years later, a sense of what Olley and her artist friend Justin O’Brien called ‘the bones’ of the branches. Olley and O’Brien would both use shrivelled and dried-out bunches of flowers and foliage as subject matter for painting because ‘the bones’, as they called it, still held enough information, like a reminder, for them to paint from. This is why Olley’s home studio was always filled with flowers in various phases of their development.2

Enjoy the video and be inspired to see still life compositions around your own environment.

For those of you interested in reading and learning more, here is the link to the Activity Sheet.

If you would like to view the previous posts in this series please follow this link to the last post Unlocking Margaret's House Still Life Challenges with Margaret Olley No 6: Poppies and from back through the series.

Late Mail

A very warm and special welcome to our newest subscriber Rod Jones co-producer with Inci Jones of the ThoughtRow Pods we showcased a couple of days ago. We are delighted to have you join the AnArt4Life blog on-line community.

1. ehive.com
2. gallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au

Image credits for the video
Margaret Olley (1923–2011) ‘Katie’s Quinces’ 1976, oil on hardboard, 91.5 x 122 cm. National Gallery of Australia. Purchased 1976. © Margaret Olley Art Trust
Pam Tippett, ‘Margaret’s white flour tin, jug and fruit bowl with lemons’ 2019, oil on linen on panel, 60 x 60 cm. Tweed Regional Gallery collection. Gift of The Friends of Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc., 2019. © The artist
Christine France, ‘Untitled’ (Margaret Olley and Justin O'Brien at Margaret Olley’s house in Paddington) from the Margaret Olley archive digital colour print, 10.2 x 15.3 cm image/sheet. National Art Archive|Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Gift of Christine France 2015. © Christine France. Photo: AGNSW
nless otherwise indicated, all photographs: Tweed Regional Gallery collection