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(generated from captions) This Program is Captioned Live # Theme music a special edition of Big Ideas, Hi there, and welcome to

harbour side venue coming to you from the bustling Sydney Writer's Festival. for the 2011 I'm Waleed Aly. # Theme music the way one sees, Losing one's sight changes not only but other things too. and art lover Betty Churcher Former National Gallery director has just published Notebooks, and reminisces of her favourite art, which includes observations plus the sketches she made of them the pictures she loved the most. in an effort to commit to memory At the Sydney Writers' Festival,

share their very moving stories Churcher and historian David Walker with Sandra Yates. of finding new ways of seeing for me to face, Well, it was a terrible dilemma the thought of going blind. I really couldn't cope with it. in this eye. I completely lost the sight I had a melanoma in this eye just took the sight away completely. and the radiation degeneration in this eye, And then I developed macular to move about in a black world and I suddenly realised that pull up in my mind's eye, would be dreadful if I couldn't some of the things that I most loved, from when I was a student in London. pictures that I'd enjoyed right And in 2006, I did this last - 'sentimental journey' - I was going to say

it really was a sentimental journey. fix in my mind Because I realised that I wanted to Rembrandt's self-portraits. a series of the National Gallery in London, Two of them were in

also in London. one of them was at Kenwood House, I'd loved them from a schoolgirl - And I just felt that

I went down to Melbourne when I finished school at 17 the self-portrait. to see my first Rembrandt, in front of this little picture, I remember standing

tears streaming down my face, that's one of the pictures but the joke of it is that

has since crossed off the list. that the Rembrandt Review Committee

(Laughter) Ernst van de Wetering, And I remember telling

of that Review Committee, who's a member I remember telling him this. one of the pictures you crossed off I said, 'Yes, well

wept tears of joy in front of.' as a 17-year-old, was one of the pictures that I,

a funny thing about that picture.' And he said, 'Well you know, it's He said, 'I've since discovered on the same bolt of linen that it's painted late Rembrandts come from. that some of the great

from Rembrandt's studio. So it's definitely come that he never finished. It could be a beginning

And I said to Ernst van de Wetering, not a self-portrait. 'I wonder if it's a portrait, I wonder if one of his students painted it.'

that it's not a Rembrandt. Because we're both convinced on this 2006 journey But what I wanted to do really look hard at Rembrandt, was to go back to London, and really, by this time, because I knew so much more about him see that story of his life told. and I just wanted to see if I could marvelous biography It's like this most that's passed down to history - of Rembrandt's. you know,those self-portraits many many self-portraits. He used himself a lot - his people to sit for too long Mainly because, I think, he wanted and for too many sessions. you can sit for as long as you like. And of course, with a self-portrait OK. (Laughter) an academic and an historian. David, in your case, you're And this had implications as a discipline. for the way you approached history a personal history - And that decision to write the book that became Not Dark Yet - sort of almost forced into? was that something that you felt in making that decision What was your thought process sort of almost forced into? was that something that you felt in 2004 - Yes, I became a macular degenerate in the Rats of Tobruk tradition. a proud title that I embrace I did But the kind of academic writing and a lot of manuscripts. required a lot of archival work, A lot of reading of obscure texts,

(Laughs) and a throat that's not working. (Clears throat)

to go back to that kind of writing - So it wasn't easy for me initially that research-intense writing. keep doing something. But I wanted to

and I wanted to keep writing I wanted to keep active, if at all possible. or doing nothing. Because the choice was doing that, keep doing something.

the first chapter of Not Dark Yet, So I started to write what became and what it was to lose sight, which is a reflection on sight, of that experience. and the implications memories of my mother. But also drawing upon my mother is called Fortunately for the book,

memories of my mother. But also drawing upon routinely and regularly which is a wonderful name to invoke through the text. Wallace Bourne-Walker But Glasson Maude of a eugenic kind. had some very strange views became a school teacher - She was a school teacher - she imbibed a lot of ideas and in the 1920s and '30s I think and racial purity. about eugenics, and racial fitness And also degeneracy, concerned about passing on. which she was a little bit defect of extreme short-sightedness And she actually passed on the to her three children defective, I'm proud to say, and I was the third and the most the macular degenerate state. which predisposed me towards the kind of writing I could do, So I had to rethink our ears we have a powerful archive, and I was aware that between

and not easily accessed, often fairly disorganised in there, but there are a lot of memories from the family. a lot of stories that I've heard that I was hearing voices - And just voices - I'm not saying the voices of parents and others, but you recall, you call to memory I began to draw upon that so increasingly as a way of thinking about the past. that I was writing a family history. But I didn't start out thinking Yeah. We might come to that. Both of you have used memory forestall failing eyesight. as a device to

David, there's a line in Not Dark Yet which, I think, captures that beautifully. You say, 'Memory and vision now seem more alike than I once imagined. With memory, we are often more dismayed by what has been lost, than impressed by what has been retained.' That's the end of the quote, but it really is the essence, I think, of what we're trying to talk about today. Betty, you've used painstaking line-drawings to memorise not just the way the painting looks, but to fix in your mind the intent of the original artist. You've said that you can only do this when you're in front of the original - that you couldn't do it in front of a reproduction. And your description of the process is almost mystical.

What's going on in your head when you're sitting in front of a painting and why couldn't you do it in front of a reproduction? Well it's interesting, I have tried to draw from a reproduction, and I realised that the drawing has to be a sort of emotional contact with the object between me and it. And it's almost like an electrical charge that you get, which you don't' get from a reproduction, let's face it -

you know, you're just looking at a thing in a book. But when you're standing in front of the picture, and there's something there that sort of grabs your memory and mind, and I start to draw it, and it's interesting - once drawn never forgotten. Now, I don't know why that is, but it's just the same thing as our instinct -

you know, if we're trying to talk about something, to show a direction we'll draw a little mud map of it, and that immediately sort of fixes it in your mind. And it's the same sort of thing - those drawings aren't in any way artistic, in that they're not interpretive drawings. What I've tried to do is almost merge with the artist.

To look as the artist has looked, and to see it through his eyes. They were all him in these cases, because I was going back to the paintings that I loved as a child, you know, and as a student. And when I was starting to go blind, I thought, 'Well, gee, I really can't remember the details of these pictures and I must go back before' - now it's not going to happen, I've been through those dreadful lucentis injections the details of these pictures now it's not going to happen,

that one has to have, which is keeping it at bay. So I don't think it's going to happen. But at the time I thought I was going to go blind, and I went back and I went straight to the paintings that I really loved, when I first went across - 1952 was when I first went to London. And I wanted to just draw those drawings, and the National Gallery gave me the best gift they could give to anyone. I got a message to say that if I liked - if I liked (!) - if I liked, I could stay in the Gallery after closing time, between 5pm and 10pm, and it was just bliss. I didn't have to think if I was blocking the view of another person. And any thought like that can interrupt that sort of almost hypnotic state you get in when you're drawing, looking at the work of art. And I had just one security guard who went around with me, and I said to him, 'I'm terribly sorry about this.' And he said 'Are you kidding? I'm getting overtime.' (Laughter) He loved it. But I don't know who it was that gave me that gift, but what a gift that was. That's why it was so special for me, and why I could do so much detailed and extensive drawing from it. David, I confess to not having read your previous book, Anxious Nation: Australia and the Rise of Asia, but I'm guessing that the David Walker in that book was an infinitely more serious fellow than the author of Not Dark Yet. Were you surprised to discover how funny you are?

(Laughter) Well, Anxious Nation is a work with astonishing moments of wit, and I commend it to you. (Laughter) Unhappily, it's not on sale today, so the copy you have will be much sought after, so please protect it. No, I wasn't surprised at that. I'd been lecturing to students for some time, for a number of years at the University of New South Wales, where it's important to keep the audience engaged, for a number of years at the University of New South Wales, and on occasion it worked. But members of my family, more particularly the - family's a complicated thing, only the people in them ever understand them. But I had two uncles - one who served in North Africa, who I write about, who was an extremely funny human being, one of the funniest people above ground then, and below ground now. And the other uncle, his younger brother, was also an extremely funny human being. So even academics have families. Even academics have families that might be described as normal and in most normal families there are funny human beings. So, I was surrounded by people who, in their own way, were funny. and in most normal families there are funny human beings. And my mother was pretty funny too. She was. (Laughter) She was pretty funny, yes.

She was funny in all sorts of ways. (Laughter) But her wit was of a slightly more lacerating kind. She often drew blood. (Laughter) And people were unenthusiastic about being on the receiving end of that. But I learnt something from that as well, I learnt kindness and gentleness, (Laughter) and not to lacerate as often as I would like. Well, we're laughing because David has very kindly given me a copy of that first book and I promised to read it with the exhortation that it is infinitely wittier than I am clearly expecting. But I'd asked that question because while this is a beautiful, warm, wry, funny, self-deprecating book, it's very clearly an historians' book. And you've taken a meticulous approach to the history and gone back to original sources, but also you have allowed your own personality to shine through,

and the personalities of your family. And as a result,

we have a much warmer, more complex, more intimate portrait of Australia in the 20th century than we might have otherwise expected. So, I'm going to invite you here to talk about Luke Day

because that was a story that I think is so wonderfully told, and yet there must be many, many families in Australia who have had the same surprise that you did. Hmmm. Yes, I mean, my academic interest is Australian representations of Asia, or understandings of Asia. And in starting out on Not Dark Yet, I didn't expect there to be a lot of Asia in it. So, it came as a particular surprise and a very great pleasure to discover a person called Luke Day, who doesn't immediately announce himself as Chinese, but was. In fact, my daughter made that discovery, I have to admit - She discovered that Luke Day was Chinese by looking around on Burra websites, which is a peculiar interest for a daughter to have,

but there she was. And he was a green grocer and market gardener and he comes into the story by adopting the gorgeous young thing, Molly,

who's on the front cover, that wonderful front cover, of the Guramondo publication. And please hold the book up... It is a very pretty child, in fact. It's a very pretty child. It's no use to me holding it up, there might be some people out there who can see it. Molly was abandoned by her ne'er-do-well parents and Luke Day, who was doing his rounds as a green grocer came upon her - she was about three or four, and adopted her, gave her his name - Molly Day, enrolled her in the Burra primary school - a lot of my family come from Burra in the mid-north of South Australia. So there you have a single Chinese male, he's 23, he marries about six months later, finding a young European child, adopting her, enrolling her in the school, and that in itself is the beginning of a fairly astonishing story, I think, for the late 19th century Australia.

And Molly grows up to marry into the Walker family, she marries my grandfather's older brother and business partner, they had a store in Burra. So we have, almost by these accidental processes, we have a Chinese figure coming into the centre of the family. And the wedding is described in detail in The Burra Record, which is a wonderful paper, I urge you all the read The Burra Record. (Laughter) Especially around 1900. But the wedding is described in detail. Luke Day's ethnicity, the fact that he's Chinese, is not mentioned once. So, you can read that wedding - the father of the bride is there, he gives a speech, he gives a wonderful speech, there's a wonderful spread after it, not once is it mentioned that he's Chinese. And I suspect that it's not mentioned because The Burra Record decided that him being Chinese was something that they could make humour of, did so, they disparaged him and his then wife, and he took them to court, and won, I am pleased to say. Cleaned up 15 pounds, which was a handsome sum, of course, which is a great victory for them and I'm sure the reason that The Burra Record decided not to mention that Luke Day was Chinese is because once bitten, twice shy. But there are many further dimensions to that story as well. I'll just throw another one in, because I love it dearly. One of his friends came to the wedding, a fellow called Chin Yung, who in The Burra Record has about four or five names. So, I also surmise as a historian that all that anxiety we had about the Chinese is misplaced because they're probably outnumbered by a factor of four.

Chin Yung has four or five names.

His young son William burnt the house down when playing with matches, which is what young boys do in country towns because there's not a lot to entertain them. And the local community - the mayor started a Chin Yung relief fund, and The Burra Record, being the wonderful paper that it is, enables me to establish

that my grandfather, my various uncles, great grandfathers and so on contributed to the Chin Yung relief fund. So, again you get a story built into the texture of our history. The big story is anti-Chinese, but within a small community like that

there are all sorts of fascinating nuances and subtleties to that story that, I think, looking at history at that level - close to the ground, with a detailed knowledge of local communities and where people were - can say something really fascinating and interesting about our past. But it is a wonderful story and that was a kind of gift to me, really, I hadn't expected it and it wasn't transmitted to my generation. Mm. Betty, there's something very intimate in your book too - it's almost as though you're letting us peer over your shoulder as you're doing these drawings.

We feel privileged to be so up close to them. But it made me think - I mean, we know so much about you through the television programs -

but is there a substantive difference between describing something to a reader, as opposed to a viewer? Yes, one of the difficulties with those television programs was the time - five minutes. You have no idea how hard it is to write something that's...not trivialised, you know, it's got something meaty in it but it's only five minutes long. When you're writing, it's just lovely - you can just write. Words flow out and you don't have to think, you know. You're counting words the whole time, when you're writing for television because three more words, you know, and you die - gone. So I find it much easier to write for a book than for television, you know, a script for a television program. The television programs were interesting. I had to write them as scripts because what I didn't realise the first time I went along for this first one, Take Five, I thought, well, I know my subject, and I can just chat, talk about it. So, it was John Glover, I remember, we were in Launceston outside John Glover's house, and I did my bit,

and it was exactly the way I wanted it, it just came out beautifully, you know, it was concise and right, and then, to my horror, I heard the sound man say, 'Ooh. Sorry, we'll have to do that again, an aeroplane went over.' (Laughter) And a little voice at the back of my head thinks, 'I wonder if I can.' So, you do it again, and then the cameraman says, 'Oh, no, I lost focus on that pan.' And by the time - I did it about seven times and in the end, I just had a white-out. I couldn't even think who I was talking about. (Laughter) I couldn't even think, you know, it was John Glover. So, after that, I thought, 'I'll never get caught like that again,' so I used to write them as scripts and learn them as scripts but then not necessarily stick to them. But I always had something to fall back on. I never had that terror of just that sheet of white coming down, which blanked out everything from my memory. So I find writing for books a much more relaxing process. And I suppose what it is with me, I started life as a teacher, and I think I've been a teacher all my life, and what I'm trying to do all the time is encourage people to look, to look more inquisitively at a work. That, you know, you go to a gallery, and you see them just walking past and they'll take in the subject matter of the picture and move on, take in the subject matter of the picture and move on. But there's so much more to be had if you give it a little bit of time.

And I think anything to slow people down, you know, we've now got to the stage where everything happens so quick - this instant message, you know, it's a pre-packaged message and it comes and 'snap', and then another one, next one, please, and the next one, please. There's no incentive, often, to go back and to go back and back and back, to look at the same thing again and get more and more and more out of it. And those are the pictures, I think, that I most love, And, er, I think that that's really what I got my kicks out of when I was writing the book, because I was able to use my words and then the drawing to overcome some of the deficiencies of reproduction, because there's no doubt about it, reproductions don't do it, you've got to be standing in front of the picture, and standing there for a little while, giving the picture a little bit of time.

Because, I noticed, one of the first pictures I went to was this painting of Rembrandt's, of Hendrickje Stoffels bathing - she's holding her shift up, and she's shin-deep in water. It's the most beautiful little painting - it's only about the size of tea towel - and it's the most - it's probably my favourite painting. I say in the book, if I had a fairy godmother that said, 'You can have one picture from the whole history of art - which will you have?' I think I'd have that one because it just continuously - it's forever modern, it's forever relevant, it's forever quotidian, it's got everything in it that you want now, that you would have wanted in the 16th Century. And - And it's a very intimate painting. And I don't have a fairy godmother, unfortunately. Alas. Can I ask you both to comment on whether you think age, as well as failing eyesight, was a factor for you in the decision to try to capture memories as a talisman, almost, against the coming darkness that will overtake us all. But I'm interested because before I'd read Betty's book, I'd planned a world trip that was centred around certain music and certain symphony orchestras, that I wanted to fix that sound in my memory while I still could. And it made me wonder whether that's part of our subconscious preparation for old age, is that we start to create the memories that we think we're gonna need to...get through it. Is that part of what we're doing, do you think? Well, I think I'm almost certain that that 2006 trip was my last. I don't think I could do it again.

I don't think I've now got the stamina, apart from anything else. See, I'd be in the gallery all day and then at 5:00 - I'd be there from 5-10:00 at night. And, er, I just wouldn't have the stamina to do it now. But it doesn't matter, I don't have to, because I have now got those pictures etched into my memory and I can pull them up now as effectively as if they were sitting on the wall in front of me. David? Yes, I didn't understand the age part of the question, er - (Laughter) Oh, go on! But the - yes, I guess in my case, there was a consciousness that I'd the head of the queue. My father's generation has obviously gone, and I was only able to write about some of these people once they had.

So, the death of that generation was important in allowing me to write the book that I have written. And I guess it's also the case that you do want to capture, in memories, some of those stories and the texture of those lives, which was an important part of what I eventually wanted to do, or found myself doing. And I guess that is a kind of an attempt to forestall time, to capture something with some life and vitality that will resist time, you know, that will - people go back to it and can read it and capture that sense of that period, those voices, that way of conducting themselves, those moments in history, if you like, that way of seeing the world. So, I think it's partly an attempt to capture that world and capture its vitality, if you like, rather than its rather decrepit remnants. (Chuckles) As part of this trip, as you inevitably do, I found myself in art museums rather a lot, which led me to form the view in Paris, that I really don't like Renoir - it's very, sort of, schmaltzy and pink and girly, and, er... (Audience chortling) ..I thought, 'This is just terrible.' But it led me then, knowing I was going to talk to you, with all of your vast stores of knowledge - and there's nobody here except us chickens - who don't you like? (Laughter) Well, er - of the great artists, you mean? Yes. Um - Well, if you... (Laughs raucously) ..well, if you want to flesh it out a little more, that's fine. No, let's stick to the ones we all know. I find Renoir a bit difficult too. All those pinks and blues and yellows. Yes, it's just so pink! When I was a girl, I could not stand Rubens! I can stand him a bit better now, but I remembered in the Louvre, there's a whole room with Marie of Medici - he did a whole series for Marie of Medici. And I used to have to walk through that room, like this! I couldn't - those great, sort of, bursting, voluptuous, poutine floating everywhere, and robes and flesh, and feeling of flesh everywhere. (Laughter) I just couldn't bear them! And I still don't love them, I must say. I don't love them.

but you do admit for a fondness for Howard Arkley, and - great quote here - 'If ever there was a painter tailor made for macular degenerates, it's Howard Arkley.' (Laughter) Why do those paintings resonate so strongly with you? There was an exhibition of Arkley in 2006 at the Potter Gallery in Melbourne. I quite like going to galleries as a matter of fact, partly to see what I can see.

And I come out of a methodist background and methodists are always urged to keep doing things, because it's virtuous, so I go to galleries partly out of a sense of virtue, that I have to, I have to keep the practice of sight going. But they had a wonderful Arkley exhibition there. And Arkley's colours are so - first of all it's suburban, he's the great painter of suburban Australia

and a fair part of what I write about and reflect upon is suburban Australian, growing up in suburban Australia and some of the houses I've lived in are absolutely, pure, 100% Arkley. And there's a photograph in the book of a house that we lived in in the wonderfully named Broadview Gardens.

And there's a photograph in the book of a house that we lived in Alongside Arkley it's almost impossible to tell which is which. Well, it's impossible for me to anyhow.

But the other - it's the boldness of the colour that's terrific and I don't know that Betty's had this experience, but I see some colours better than others now.

So, I'm pretty good at yellow, for example. And so's Arkley. But there are just walls of Arkley. Some of his paintings extend the full wall of the gallery,

so a macular degenerate can walk along the painting Some of his paintings extend the full wall of the gallery, and assemble the picture using those bits of the retina So that you can in a sense reassemble the painting and just put it together again. And he does wonderful - those Dulux colour palettes, he does them in, you know, huge size, which is perfect for me, because I can go up to them he does them in, you know, huge size, (Laughs) which is the era from which they come. No, Arkley is just - I mean I think he's a wonderful painter. You don't have to be macular degenerate, and I hasten to add, to like Arkley, but if you find yourself in that condition go to Arkley. (Laughs) Actually also, just to follow up that thought for a moment, I think he's a wonderful painter.

but also of a certain age, because you remember houses of that period. Yes, that's true, that is true, yes. Betty, can I ask you to comment on the importance of drawing in art education. Institutions like the National Art School still have drawing at the heart of their curriculum, but it's less evident, and I'm being kind here, in a number of university arts programs.

How relevant is drawing in a digital age? I still think it's totally relevant. I think that we are probably not terribly different in our basic human personas to the neolithic people. Probably, we sort of love and hate...people in exactly the same way as they did then. And I think all that's happened is we've got cleverer and cleverer and I think the digital age has sort of helped us to do things quickly and I think I'm exiting just in the nick of time, actually. (Laughs) Stop the world, I want to get off. It gets too complex for me. But I often think that in art schools they tend to follow a fashion which is fine while the fashion lasts,

but then when the fashion moves on

if they don't have any skills of any sort to fall back on it's a little bit like a rockpool when the tide's gone out - there's nothing there until the next wave comes in. I always remember a marvellous remark that Constantin Brancusi made when he was working in Paris. I said, 'Mr Brancusi, does it worry you that you're not in fashion?' And he said, 'No, no, it doesn't worry me in the least little bit.'

He said, 'Because what's in fashion will go out of fashion.'

And it's so true, and of course Brancusi's work has never gone out of fashion. There's something very basic and true in Brancusi that was true then and will be true forever, I think.

There's just something that resonates.

But I think they're missing an awful lot if they don't draw.

I really do.

I can't understand why they don't, why they disperse with drawing, but a lot of the things - we can pick up a 14th Century book

and we can still, if we read Latin, we can still read that 14th Century book, but a lot of the stuff that's being produced today - I saw the very early computer things on these celluloid sheets and the person was saying now there's no way of finding out what the information on this is, because the machine required to interpret it no longer exists. And I think that's so sad, there's an awful lot of our world that is just going to vanish, because as one technology takes over from the next, you know DVDs will - when DVD players don't exist anymore there'll be all these shiny discs that people have got and they wont know what on earth was on them or what's in them, but... They'll make art installations out of them.

They may make art installations out of them, but they may be missing a lot of wonderful information as well. I just think it's very sad to be working with a thing that is so temporal that it's got a prescribed life span. Whereas things, as I say, a 14th Century book

that is so temporal that it's got a prescribed life span. We can just go to it. David, your book has been very warmly received, it's had some lovely critical reviews. And through events such as this you're reaching a much broader audience than you might have expected in the past. how do you feel about that? Does that inspire you to write something else or does it make you want to flee shrieking for home? Does that inspire you to write something else It's very pleasing to be told that there's a large audience I will not be fleeing for home. I'm very happy with this. It's very pleasing to be told that there's a large audience and I will continue writing in this mode. Of course, a writer wants to be read and if there are people reading the book, so much the better. If there are people wanting a signed copy, so much the better. (Laughter) No, I am really happy. With an X? That's right, I'll do it with an X. I don't know of too many authors who really - well, I suppose there are some, I mean there are certainly reclusive folks who don't like occasions where there are a large number of people. But I'm not, um - I've got to tell you that there's also lots of authors who don't make that transition to public exposure at all well. You would be astonished at the number of very shy authors who you think you'd love to have who just freeze on stage and are totally awful. Well, I'm shocked and disappointed to hear that.

But I think there's an opportunity. Do you have an idea in mind for a second book? Yes, I'm going back to the mid-north of South Australia and I'm going to be writing about the landscapes there, the patterns of settlement there. And one of the really moving things about that landscape, it sits right on the edge of the dry country along Goyder's Line and their attempts to establish settlements there, homesteads there, which have now been abandoned. So we have a landscape that humans have tried to inhabit and for various kinds of reasons, some of them climate reasons, have failed to settle successfully, so it's a metaphor for our times I think, but it's also

in itself just a powerful landscape and it's one that is deeply lodged in me. It's a kind of return to home for me those landscapes, but they're historically powerful and they tell us a story about the limits of our settlement and what we as humans can and cannot do, so that's what I'm doing. Ok, well, I'm going to ask Betty a final question, but then I'm going to throw it over to you. Betty, the one thing that went through my mind looking at the wonderful paintings in your book is you went to a small range of institutions and I understand that - the stamina question that you probably couldn't have done more than that

but I wondered in your mind, where there paintings in other institutions that if you could have you would have included in this as sort of as part of your top list? Oh, yes. Oh, good heavens, yes. I always carried a notebook when I was director of The National Gallery and partly it was sometimes just to remember where a picture was if I might want to borrow it. so I'd just make a quick notation of it and write Doria Pamphilj, so I'd remember that was where it was in Rome. And then it sort of became a little bit more and a little bit more, so I've got about 25 notebooks at home that go over the years from when I was the director of the gallery. The ones that they picked in these ones - I don't quite know why they picked them, but they did. I guess my point in asking the question is can you do it again? No. (Both laugh)

Is there a Notebooks volume two? No, no. There aren't any Notebooks volume two. I've got another project I'm supposed to be doing, but actually I don't know whether I'm going to make it. I just feel the stamina retreating as I move through my - it's my 9th decade, you know the weight of years bear me down. Alright, well, look, thank you both. And can we now turn it over to you in the audience and do we have a question? My interest is in children's drawing and how that drawing is influenced throughout their life. It seems to me that children begin so free

and can be trained to look and to draw and then as they go to school change dramatically.

And I wonder, did you have freedom throughout your drawing life? In my case I always could draw. I really thought that everyone could draw. I thought that if you could see you could draw. It just didn't enter my head that you couldn't draw, but I think what happens with children is that they get to a certain stage

and a certain self-consciousness comes in. If you can keep that self-consciousness at bay I think that you're getting somewhere with children. But I notice it's always around ten or 12 and I think it's their peers and that's when you hear children say, 'Oh, I can't draw'. And when children said that to me when I was a child and that's when you hear children say, 'Oh, I can't draw'. And it took me a little while for that to settle into my consciousness I'd think, 'Well, I'm sure you can see, why can't you draw?' And it took me a little while for that to settle into my consciousness I'd think, 'Well, I'm sure you can see, why can't you draw?' But, um, when I was growing up there was no such thing as child art, I have to tell you. It just didn't exist. There was no such thing as self-expression or if there was it wasn't for seven-year-olds. I don't know. (Laughter) We used to have to just draw - the teacher would put up a toy that some child had brought in to play with and we had to draw it, just sort of accurately. Which of course would never happen in a child art class now. I've noticed - I'm an early childhood educator, or was - that as they go from pre-school to school there's a conformity that happens that seems to freeze that ability to draw and see

and express themselves through their drawing. Yeah, I think it is, that suddenly they become self-conscious, that I Can't Draw Syndrome settles in, which is a terrible shame, isn't it?

Yes, it is about that time, moving from pre-school to school. Did you have to leave anything out of the book? David, you might try that first. I had to leave quite a lot out of the book. I think any book that takes family as its core requires a lot to be left out because one of the particular perils of a thing called family history, which I'm not sure is what I've done, but one of the particular perils of that genre is that every discovery goes in and not every discovery is of interest to readers. So, there was a lot of removal going on, of stuff that just didn't pay its way but there were also characters that were left out, some because they had performed badly in the family

and their reverberations through the family were such that I didn't want to get into difficult territory with them so there's a little bit of that going on. But there's a lot left out. Yes, in my case, of course, I had to limit it because MUP really wanted to keep it a small, intimate -

almost like the sketch books that I carried but that is about the size of the sketch books that I used to carry around. Those Spirex sketch books. And I was worried because I thought it would be perfect for my drawings because that's the size they are but how is it going to reproduce with a large painting? But they've done it very well, I must say.

Full marks to MUP. Betty, I bought your book, I don't think there's any modern art in it? No, that a good question actually because most of my study was to do with post World War II American art, so most of my study is to do with contemporary but this was really a Proustian trip back into my childhood and my school days and I wanted to go back to those works that I remembered, you know,

and that had an enormous effect on me as a girl growing up. And, of course, then there weren't many women artists that we knew about. You know, Artemisia Gentileschi I'd never heard of. Vigee Le Brun, I had, but hated hers because they were rather sentimental paintings. Um, but it was really just a sort of an exploration into my past. There are some, like, I've got De Kooning's Woman V because I was always convinced that De Kooning was influenced by his beginnings as a Dutchman in Rotterdam in Holland and that he would've grown up with Rembrandt. And I remember once, years and years ago, having to give a paper - the symposium was on De Kooning - and my theory was that standing behind De Kooning always was that image of the profundity of Rembrandt and everybody else at the conference was talking about De Kooning and the influence of Picasso, De Kooning and the influence of Matisse, De Kooning and the influence of... And here I am talking about De Kooning and the influence of Rembrandt, it seems so bizarre. But then afterwards I found, to my joy - I wish I'd found it before - a photograph of De Kooning's New York studio and guess what he had pinned on the wall? He had that little painting of Hendrickje Stoffels bathing, you know, holding her shift up and bathing in the water.

So, where possible, I related the pictures that I'd gone to to contemporary works, to Jeffrey Smart or to Francis Bacon, or Picasso, but he got left out, so... (Laughter) Yes. You mentioned briefly in your book your decision to give up your own art practise when your children started to arrive. You seem to have no regrets. I'm just wondering, do you have any regrets and do you have any advice for women negotiating that time of their life their own practise? of how to maintain their own practice? Yeah, it is a really difficult one and I know it doesn't affect most - all women in the same way. But in my case, I know that the emotional energy that was going into painting, when I started having children, the emotional energy was going there. And there just wasn't any left for the painting. Now, I know that doesn't apply to all women, it just doesn't. Lots of women artists have continued with their career and have had children. A lot of them, of course, haven't. Magaret Preston, Grace Cossington Smith Fiona Hall, a lot of these women - Bea Maddock - they've never had children.

And it really is hard, I think. I don't know what the answer is. And I don't - wherever the person who asked the question is - I don't know what the answer is. But there's just a story that I heard that a friend told - he was one of the lecturers at the Royal College of Art - and he went to visit Barbara Hepworth and he said he went into her studio and she was sanding a large marble and he said the room was just a thick haze of marble dust,

and he could hear this mewling noise which he thought was a kitten but so she turned off her sander and the marble dust gradually settled and it was a baby in a bassinet. (Laughter) Closed Captions by CSI THEME MUSIC We're about to witness one of most mysterious wonders on earth. It's the largest work of art in the world. So vast, in fact, that you can only see it from the sky and it's even been suggested it was made by aliens. The Nazca Lines, high up on a plateau in Pampas de Jumana, Peru, images carved into the very ground of the pampas. These pictures are huge but they're not visible or even apparent from the ground. You have to take to the air in a balloon, plane or helicopter

to see these dramatic shapes. They must be some kind of message but it's a message we can't understand. This extraordinary figure, thought to be an astronaut by some, who is he waving to? What does all this mean? The whole landscape is criss-crossed by puzzlingly straight lines. They go everywhere for mile upon mile upon mile. It's like flying over an airfield. How were these huge designs laid in the landscape up to 2,000 years ago by a people whose history is now lost?

Back down to earth, all over the terrain are reddish boulders brought here through the action of glaciers thousands and thousands of years ago. The Nazcas moved the stones to expose the gypsum underneath, creating a different texture a different colour to the boulder-strewn land around, a simple but brilliant manipulation of the landscape. The lines have survived centuries because Nazca is one of the driest places in the world and its remoteness has saved these fragile works

from the destructive tendencies of modern man. But the mystery surrounding these astonishing creations remains. What could they have been for? Why on this vast scale? How could the artists have seen their finished masterpieces? Closed Captions by CSI

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