Margaret Olley died today. She was 88 years old. One of Australia’s most distinguished painters and supporters of young and emerging artists, Olley was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1991. She spoke openly about her efforts to overcome both alcoholism and then later in life depression also, and following success in both these battles she readily encouraged others to talk about their problems and seek help.
She had some lovely quotes about herself, too:
I’ve always loved men. Always loved men. But I’ve been one of those people who have never really wanted to be owned. Love becomes another thing. It becomes a bigger thing than a sexual drive. I must say, I think I’ve put all my energies and everything into painting. That is really my love. Painting has consumed my whole life.
I spend whatever time I can painting. I spend my life going from one place to another, following the light round. I hate painting during the winter ’cause the light seems to fail, it’s undependable. A lot of people don’t bother. They just paint by electricity. I don’t like that. I like natural light. I can’t paint anything unless I’m excited by it. Once you’ve lost the momentum, you’ve left it, it’s like a failed mayonnaise.
Like failed mayonnaise, I like that.