Presented by: Margaret Leavesley & David Smeeton
Review written by: Sheila Twine


Margaret and David spoke to a packed house of members and guests about diverse art works from Australia and Japan.

Margaret showed us paintings from her famous artist grandfather George Pitt Morison and delineated his studies and artistic life in general.   She related his life history covering his studies and his traumatic loss of income in the bank crash of 1893.   George studied and worked with notable artists of the time, such as Fred McCubbin, Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and Charles Gordon.    He studied at L’ Academie Julian in Paris, and the Prado in Spain.   Of note, Margaret had some original Morison works to show us, plus a copy of his famous painting, ‘The Foundation of Perth’.  She related the amusing story that Mrs Dance in the picture was actually her Uncle Donald Morison dressed up in a frock for the occasion.

After the break, David Smeeton entranced members with his collection of paintings, artefacts, books and ceramics.   He and his late wife Diana lived and worked in Japan for five years, with Diana using her talent to produce many artistic works in the Shibui and Sumi-e style.  These paintings showed simplicity and economy of brush work in black and white ink and colour, giving a sense of tranquillity, virtue and harmony.  The Japanese bring out enlightenment, serenity and humility with their unpretentious and simple linear painting on paper or silk screening.   David also showed us various items of miniaturisation, such as bonsai trees and the intricately carved netsuke. These netsuke had two holes bored in their bone or ivory and were used as toggles to close the tops of bags. Ceramics played a great part in every-day useful objects in Japan which were essentially artistic in their own right contrasting with the delicate beauty of Celadon vases.  Ikebana was shown, with its timeless simplicity of line and stems in flower arrangement.  Lastly, Japanese gardens with their contemplative spaces divided with colour and texture provided by azaleas, camellias, cherry trees, bamboos and pines were enjoyed.

The audience were enraptured by both presentations and we were sorry when the two hours came to an end and the paintings and artefacts were packed away.  Hopefully there will be a repeat presentation in future years.