Group of Artists from Casterton, country Victoria, and further afield in Australia
The annual Clarice Beckett Art Award and exhibition is in the throes of being organised for the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend, here in Casterton, Victoria. On days like this, blustery, biting wind, wet underfoot, more rain threatening, and approaching the time of day when softening light mutes the landscape, I think of Clarice.
Her passion for art took precedence over anything Mother Nature threw at her. She was made of sterner stuff than a lot of us. And a lot of us are more fortunate than she was, with our work spaces. Converted sheds might make drafty studios, but there is room to spread out, to proceed with current projects, without battling the elements. Clarice was not so fortunate, having the kitchen table to work at if convenient, and when not out painting en plein air.
Receiving little encouragement from family or peers, she persisted against the odds, amassing a large volume of work before her untimely death at only 48. Her passion was such that she continued to snatch any time available, usually early mornings or late afternoons, towing her homemade cart of supplies. She painted on scraps of board or even cardboard. Her passion sustained her until the end. Already frail from years of caring for her ageing and ill parents, she succumbed to pneumonia in 1935. Only after her death was her work given the attention and credit it deserves.
It’s a privilege to honour Clarice Marjoribanks Beckett, an accomplished and dedicated artist, and Aussie battler, with this annual award.