Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The King Sun

Sitting at my kitchen table with the sun streaming in on my back this week I felt that summer really was on its way. It reminded me of a wonderful ABC documentary on one of our national living treasures - John Olsen the painter - a young and vibrant 86 year old. (you can see and listen to him on a short utube video creating it here - I recommend it) It was a marvellous programme. His King Sun painting can be found at 1 Collins Square - which is located in Docklands - along the extension of Collins Street just past Spencer Street. I decided to go and take a look - and how glad I am that I did. It was wonderful.

But first I had to find it! 2 buildings towered over me. I had expected to be 'greeted' by it due to its size - but no. So I thought I would pop into a travel outlet to ask directions (for the sake of courtesy I won't name it!). "Do you know where the huge painting of the sun is?" I asked. I was greeted by a blank stare. "It's was recently featured in a wonderful TV programme" I continued. (I didn't mention the ABC!) After a bit of pondering and with her face screwed up came this reply "Oh you mean that big yellow thing. I wouldn't really call it a painting" she replied! Trying not to look too stunned by her response I received instructions regarding where to find the 'big yellow thing' and off I went!
The King Sun or in anothers words "that big yellow thing"
Shards of sunlight across The King Sun
And there it was in all it's vibrant glory in the foyer of the Commonwealth Bank and Transurban reception area. It was magnificent. And to make it even more interesting shards of the suns rays were touching the surface. The 'big yellow thing' looked alive.

The mural is so large that Olsen needed not only to stand on a series of 8 wooden panels and use brushes attached to long sticks to paint but also required an assistant. He was also hospitalised during the creation. A longer version of the programme and some still photographs can be found here
86 year old John Olsen with cane and beret

I love John Olsen (his daughter is the creator of the marvellous Dinosaur Designs) for his talent and for his enthusiasm for life (which you will see on the video link above) But it hasn't always been this way. A few years ago I read an article about him in which he spoke about life and his 2 failed marriages. And yet he still had the optimism to think that number 3 might be the one for him - at the age of 60! This is what he said:

"I am in the transit lounge of hopelessness, 
ready to rush to Gate 19 for the Flight of Hope"

And I'm pleased to say that a mere 25 years later number 3 is still the one!

Thank you John Olsen for your prolific output of paintings and for giving Melbourne The King Sun. It's worth a visit - as is the Art Series Olsen Hotel in Chapel Street (near the corner of Toorak Road - each room is 'Olsened'!). If you are in the Docklands area (near the Southern Cross Station) then do pop in to see 'that big yellow thing'.

Bowen Cottage client comment: It's been Gr8!!

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