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Hello Everyone

I can’t believe that the year is nearly over and Christmas is less than a month away. Looking back on the year that was we certainly did a lot. Even though Covid has not gone away we only lost one meeting and enjoyed many trips some for a day and others for a few days.

We experienced lovely day trips, Gosford Races, where the horses ran in Scone but we watched them on the big screen at Gosford, that was quite different but it was fun and enjoyable. Chau Chak Wing Museum and Retford Park and Nnungulla Gallery, and who could forget in June the 10th Anniversary Vivid cruise that spread the love (and Covid) to many. Christmas in July and Doyles at Watson Bay. In October we had Jazz in the Park, A Taste of Italy and a Mystery Tour with a difference.

Longer trips were the Tumut Festival, Essentially Barrington and Bundanon Art Museum.

Of course there were many Mystery Tours, walking trips and Pub Crawls as well.

Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about them, but it shows that we have a lively club with a lot of get up and go attitude.

Coming into next year we will need some volunteers for positions on the management committee as there will be a number retiring, so I’m asking you all to please have a serious think about what you could do to help continue the Fun, Friendship and Fellowship of our Club.

Looking forward to those going to the Christmas Lunch at Concord Golf Club on December 8th.

Our next meeting will be in January and there will be a BBQ after the meeting.

I would like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, may it bring you peace, joy and many blessings.

Keep safe



Thursday 8th December at Concord Golf Club

12.00 for 12.30 Lunch

SPEAKER REPORT- 'Lessons in Art From Life'


Jonathon Cooper, our speaker this month, opened his talk with acknowledgement of country, and then went on to ask us had we ever stood in front of an artwork, scratching our heads?

Jonathon has spent most of his career working at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, wearing various hats as a museum educator and coordinator of education programmes, and now, amongst other things, as a freelance writer and lecturer.

How to appreciate art?

‘There are many myths and half truths’, he said. For instance; ’art appreciation is for art experts; I can’t draw, so I can’t be expected to understand art.’ ‘I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like’.

‘There are no bad reasons for liking a painting’, Jonathon said,’ only bad reasons for not liking a painting.’ He then showed us a painting by Goya, ‘The 3rd of May’, ( a violent painting showing the massacre of Spanish freedom fighters by the French), and then a pretty photo of trees and a moon. ‘So, Is this a cliche, or wallpaper art?’ he asked. Perhaps in the eye of the beholder?

So how does one meet an artwork? Ones first reaction could be negative, and Jonathon’s advice is to look more carefully before you make a judgement and then try to justify your judgement.

‘There are three steps for appreciation,’ Jonathan said. ‘Look intently at the artwork without judgement, react and relate to it, be critical; slow down, take your time. (Here, he showed us a photograph of a Margaret Preston painting, ‘Implement Blue’). Look at the shapes between the objects, listen for silences, treasure emptiness, perhaps find a delicious anticipation in the silences. Make a personal connection. ( Here he showed us a John Olsen painting ‘Entrance to the Seaport of Desire’ and asked us if we thought it was chaotic). Many raised hands said yes, or did we think it was it slimy? He then played some music to see if what we were hearing seemed to match the painting.

Use your imagination, he said. Be critical. Is this ‘good’ art, or ‘bad’? Art describes the real world and is a personal expression. It is intrinsic - for instance, the revered Vermeer painting of ‘The Letter’ which is realistic, represents the world, demonstrates the power of simplicity and composition, and is seemingly effortless. Then in contrast, Vincent van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’, with its loose composition and thick brushwork, provides many with an emotional response to that strong visual experience.

Art can be realistic, as in Canaletto’s famous painting of the Piazza San Marco in Venice, or as in the case of Mondrian, a ‘distillation’ of a universal proposition- an object for contemplation. The modernist American painter Rothko’s paintings are an expression of emotion; Jackson Pollack’s famous ‘Blue Poles’ is an example of abstract expressionism, where the painter just dripped and flipped paint onto his canvas which lay on the floor. ( Editor’s note. Pollack was known irreverently by many as ‘Jack The Dripper’). Rembrandt’s self portraits demonstrate reality, emotion and composition.

‘It’s interesting’, Jonathon said, ‘that children’s drawings develop around the age of fourteen, when they seem to have almost a crisis of realism and become much more aware of the world around them. ‘

If you want to start to draw, he suggests that you could try drawing upside down, just following the shapes and lines- developing an aesthetic vision of the object.

He ended his fascinating talk with a demonstration of ‘what is art?’. One time, he tipped up some brightly coloured objects of the floor of the New South Wales art gallery and left them there. Was this some kind of art installation or just a mess. A conundrum for the gallery’s cleaners.

Tricia Rollins.

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HH Nov 22a


HH Nov 22
Come to Happy Hour drinks at the Country Club - third Thursday of each month at 5.30pm.


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On Tuesday 8th November, 45 Probus members enjoyed the 4th Historic Pub Crawl at the Riverview Hotel in Balmain. Paul, the owner, gave us an overview of the pub's rich history dating back to 1880 and that it was previously owned by Dawn Fraser.

Helen Carter from the Balmain Historical Society then gave us a brief history of the Birchgrove/Balmain area highlighting the changed landscape, especially several buildings that have been demolished. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and lively conversations in a private room upstairs. A great day out!

Four members were acknowledged as ‘2022 Best Pub Crawlers’ as they have attended all 4 outings this year. They are Peter R, Alison Munro, Tanya & Bruce Morton.

Thanks to Barry and Lorraine Lance for organising a great day out for us.
Carly Marshall

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