You could be forgiven for thinking that my question is a loaded question ... but, I want to challenge all of us to consider our favourite styles of entertainment, and list the people who entertain us the most.
Try not to think of them as male or female, just list everyone you can think of, and what you like about them (are they talented, or attractive, or both?). Now, once you've done that, look up their annual earnings for last year. Check out their followings on social media, if you like.
The fact that there is an International Women's Day every year, is testament to the continuing discrepancies in how women are viewed and treated.
The Exhibitionists was a program aired recently on the ABC network, which made me get up from my comfy lounge chair and go look at my own collection of original and print art. Now, I'm no art historian or art critic; I just know what I like and don't like. I tend to appreciate a nice impressionist picture, or a scenic watercolour. The odd portrait (if executed sensitively) might rate well with me, but I seem to really love water views. My bathroom calendars most often contain photographs of beautiful flowers in bunches and vases. So that's my taste in art, in a nutshell.
This program introduced me to the soft and luminous landscapes of Heidelberg impressionist, Jane Sutherland. I discovered the funky irreverence of Karla Dickens, and the eclectic modernism of Dorrit Black. And then there was the radical transcendence of Emily Kame Kngwarreye. There were other artists too, and I got to thinking about how much I'd like to see more ... in an actual art gallery ...
That's not a usual thought for me!
I don't tend to think of spending time in art galleries and museums, possibly because I'm not interested in everything on offer. As many times as I've been to Paris, I have not set foot inside the Louvre; you might be surprised by that!! Though, come to think of it, I have been to Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge, Dali Paris, and Hôtel National des Invalides. I looked forward to Dali, and was disappointed. In Moyen Age, I sat before the mesmerising Tapisseries de la Dame à la licorne, which must be the most meditative pieces of art (and most inspiring for me), that I've ever seen. They are six tapestries from the 15th century, in the mille fleurs style; seeing them in person was one of my reasons for that particular visit to France.
The third place I mentioned above, was a war museum. I hadn't chosen to go there, but I was with a friend who wanted to check it out. I have to admit, this was a stunning exhibit, and it stayed with me for some time. I especially remember a room full of armour, all standing to attention and facing me. It was an imposing sight, equalled only by the suit of horse armour! There were other suits, that were adorned with delicate engraving, and completely for show (that is, the king or dauphin would wear them as ceremonial suits of armour). Imagine, a small boy of six, riding a fully-armoured horse, and wearing a full suit of armour.
Every time I travel, something blows me away ... but I digress ... sorry!
Would you like to know who is hanging on my walls? When I was growing up, my uncle gave Mum a copy of "The Laughing Cavalier". She hung it on the wall opposite my bedroom door, and his beady little eyes would follow me everywhere. When my niece came to stay, she'd have a hissy-fit until I took it down and placed it on the floor, facing the wall. If you want to scare a child into obedience, this picture will do it. It's the scariest picture I've ever seen, and I wonder if it's the basis for all clowns!
Suffice to say, the Laughing Cavalier does not adorn my walls. I know not whence he has gone.
One print that I did want, was a Renoir that I gave my parents of Bal du moulin de la Galette. Although Pierre-August Renoir painted various people in this picture, I see his muse, Gabrielle, in every female face, and his own in every male face. When I look at a postcard I bought at L'Orangerie, called Gabrielle et Jean, I see love and innocent joy.
Another print that came to me, that I absolutely love, is by someone only known as "Reynaldo", though I grew up calling him (the guy in the print) "Keynaldo", because I thought that was his name. I have fond memories of playing my brother's Beatles and Cat Stevens records in the loungeroom before breakfast, under the gentle archangel that is el conquistador. My brothers practically forced me to take him when we were settling my parents' estate. I said no, that I had no room; but I found the space. He sits on a ledge above the fireplace (where else?), looking northward. He's searching for his "true north" and, as I come home, we greet each other.
But, what of the artistic choices that I made?
My very first purchase, was from someone selling paintings along a busy street in the central business district of Sydney. I was probably 19 or 20 years old at the time. I would have carried this home under my arm on the train or the bus. I can't remember. I wish I could find this artist online, because I still think this picture is beautiful. The signature says "Martens", and that's all I know. I paid $10 for it! It could very possibly be a knock-off of an oil painting by Arthur Martens, because it's very similar, but I still like this one. It speaks to me of spiritual freedom after death, and of not being alone.
Trying to find the real painter of this picture (because it couldn't have been Arthur Martens - he died in 1966), took me down a rabbit-hole of seascape painters with the same surname. I found Janine Martens, whose landscapes and water views are utterly lovely, as are those by Lisa Martens.
While I still haven't solved the enigma of my mysterious Martens, I have definitely discovered artists whose work I like. They just happen to be women!
My other seascape is by Peter Fennell. Again, it features two seagulls, this time hunting for fish around the waves crashing harshly against imposing rocks. I talks to me of having someone above, who is always looking for opportunities for me!
Now, everything else is by talented artists who just happen to be women. There are small and elegant water-colours and a pastel by Margarette Looney, whom I met on one of my fabulous trips to France. We took the same photos of the Rive Loire, and while I traipsed about Le château de Villandry, she produced watercolours of our photos. I had to buy them!!
Then there are impressionist oils by Eugenia Dunlevie, a local nurse-turned-painter. I have some small early works, which speak to me of home and love.
There are three small watercolour prints by Heather Anders, which I bought while in Honolulu on holiday. They contain intricate smaller pictures within larger views, and are really quite pretty. They remind me of hope in tricky times.
And lastly, a watercolour of poppies by Adele Thornton. My mother bought this one, and it always reminds me of my father, because he grew poppies. I loved their prickly hairiness before they popped open to reveal dazzling colour and heady scent. It must be time to pull out some seeds and go planting!! I couldn't find any online reference to Adele Thornton, but I did discover Chetana Thornton, whose work is very ... interesting!
I suppose the collection is incomplete without a mention of my own "works"!! A few years ago, I painted a large acrylic on canvas, with beautiful blue hues, called "Sleeping Body Island" - I think that name speaks for itself. It was the first time that I painted something for pleasure or art, since I was 15 (yes, a long time ago!). Needless to say, it wasn't an Archibald contestant! A little later, I watched a kids' movie, called Moana, because I believed it could be based on one of my (maybe mythical) ancestors .. there is something at the end of that movie, that brought tears to my eyes, like a hand reached out from the distant past to wrap itself around me and embrace me. I'd love you to see if you could find the scene that I'm talking about, and let me know!
So, is my collection worth anything materially? Who knows? It would be nice to think that women artists would be paid as much as men. The truth is, I paid a total of $12 for the art by male artists, and a little bit more for the rest. Can I spot a bargain??
What about you? On balance, did you have more male or female artists' works on display? Did your list of sports stars and musicians show a gender bias, and if so, why? I wonder, in this new age of freedom from sexual identification, if there will be less or more objectification because of how we view other people. Does how we define our sexual self influence how we view others? These are interesting times we live in, and I'm looking forward to being a woman who identifies as a human - but with a label that doesn't have "man" it it!! I just want us all to be equal, in labels and everything else!
You probably know at least 3-4 people, who have come to mind while you've read this post. Why not buy them a gift certificate? It doesn't matter where they are, because coaching can be delivered over the phone just as well as in person (possibly even better over the phone).
But, what about you? Just ask yourself, "Do I want every aspect of my life to be a 10/10?" Well, it's never too late (unless my diary is full). All you need to do, to book in for your first coaching session, is choose! And there's the absolutely fantastic 8-Week Breakthrough Results Program, if you are really committed to living your most authentic life.
Now, maybe you need some other tools - such as books, meditations, meditation school, a tarot and oracle card reading, or to consider what kinds of strategies you need in your life (Ahem. I am Certified Results Coach, and you can book a free strategy session over the phone, anywhere in the world).
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