Flamboyance that was distinctly modern


Though not a painting of a named sitter, George Washington Lambert’s Portrait group (The mother) 1907 (illustrated) nevertheless belongs to that category of art — Edwardian salon portraiture — which flourished in England in the first decade of the twentieth century. These were works especially characterised by flamboyance and bravura, where old master techniques were combined with a freshness that was distinctly modern, and they disappeared,along with the elegant and unhurried lifestyle they depicted, with the arrival of the First World War.1

Portrait group (The mother) is one of a series of works that feature the artist’s wife, Amy, and their children, Maurice and Constant. It is also one of several works, which include Lambert’s friend and colleague, the artist Thea Proctor.

RELATED: Thea Proctor

George W Lambert ‘The artist and his wife’

George W Lambert, Australia/England 1873-1930 / The artist and his wife 1904 / Oil on canvas / 81.2 x 81.5cm / Purchased 1965 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

George Lambert met his future wife Amy Abseil in 1898 while he was studying at Julian Ashton’s Sydney Art School with her sister Marian. Amy worked as a retoucher at Falks, the photographers, and had aspirations to write. In May 1899 Amy published two short stories in the Australian Magazine, the short-lived journal started by several Sydney artists including Lambert, Thea Proctor and Sydney Long as a rival to the Bulletin.While not quite a suffragette, Amy was nevertheless rather anti-establishment, particularly so for the times. Tall, thin and elegant, she was given to wearing large, flamboyant hats; her dark eyes and hair and high cheek-bones giving her beauty an exotic, almost mysterious quality.

George W Lambert ‘Self portrait (unfinished)’

George W Lambert, Australia/England 1873-1930 / Self portrait (unfinished) c.1907 / Oil on canvas / 92.1 x 71.3cm / Gift of Dr Robert Graham Brown 1942 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

George, in contrast, was blond and blue-eyed — a ‘job-lot Apollo’ according to his friend W. B. Beattie. His energy was like that of a comet, Amy wrote, but with a touch of remoteness, as if he were above other people, a quality she found particularly attractive.3 He had a ‘fine, baritone voice’ and a flamboyant personality; something of a dandy, even in the midst of the most dire poverty he would maintain a sartorial presence.4 He had little desire for an ordinary life and neither did Amy. She idolised him from the beginning and remained absolutely devoted, despite years of neglect and then widowhood, until her death at the age of ninety-two.

Two days after they married in 1900, the Lamberts set off on board the SS Persic for England. They went immediately to Paris where Lambert and his friend Hugh Ramsay studied at Colarossi’s studio. Their life was spartan as they tried to eke out a living from the proceeds of Lamberts Bulletin money and the last of his NSW Society of Artists’ Travelling Scholarship. After the birth of Maurice in June 1901, the circumstances of their lifestyle became intolerable and they returned to London so that George could seek portrait commissions to improve their income. Amy coped well with their continual need for money, perhaps as a result of her working-class upbringing, often doing the hard domestic work that a servant would normally have carried out.

George W Lambert ‘On the Strand’

George W Lambert, Australia/England 1873-1930 / On the Strand 1909 / Pencil on thin wove paper / 28.5 x 11.8cm (comp.) / Purchased 1960 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Though continually struggling to make ends meet, the Lamberts moved in a large circle of artists, musicians and writers and led an active social life that revolved around activities such as the annual Chelsea Arts Club Ball.5 George organised tableaux vivants, pageants and costume balls during this period and revelled in the theatricality of it all. As his biographer Anne Gray has stated, his paintings are frequently the pictorial equivalent of these performances in which artifice played a necessary role.6 George also supplemented their income by giving horse-riding lessons in Hyde Park and doing book and magazine illustrations.7 Always a good draughtsman, he now honed his drawing skills to a point few artists reached and is deservedly known now as much for his drawings as his paintings. Two such works are On the Strand 1909 (illustrated) and The simpler life 1905 (illustrated) — the latter a portrait study of Thea Proctor — and would seem to confirm the generally held view that it is in these simpler sketches that Lambert best caught the expression of the sitter.

George W Lambert ‘The simpler life (portrait study of Thea Proctor)’

George W Lambert, Australia/England 1873-1930 / The simpler life (portrait study of Thea Proctor) 1905 / Pencil on thin wove paper / 24.7 x 28.1cm (comp.) / Gift of Miss Maria Theresa Treweeke 1938 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

George W Lambert ‘The three sisters’

George W Lambert, Australia/England 1873-1930 / The three sisters 1906 / Pencil on cream wove paper / 34.6 x 42.6cm (comp.) / Purchased 1962 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

In the summer of 1903 Thea Proctor re-entered the Lamberts’ lives. She had come to London to study and both George and Amy greeted her warmly and compassionately, understanding at once her homesickness and loneliness. She became a daily visitor to the Lambert household, taking tea with them and sharing visits to concerts and the theatre. At first she visited both husband and wife, until Amy began asking if they had to see ‘quite so much of Thea’. Soon she began to sit for Lambert in his studio. At 24, Thea was six years younger than Lambert (Amy was one year older). An elegant young woman from a solid country background, she was child-free and freespirited — a younger version of his wife — and was, in addition, as obsessed with art and art-talk as Lambert himself. She soon developed a habit of coming and going from both studio and house as she liked. In August 1905 a second son, Constant, was born and Amy became totally taken up with the childrens welfare.8 As their small flat was now very crowded, Lambert took a studio in Chelsea where he spent most of his time.

RELATED: George Lambert’s war compositions

George W Lambert ‘Kitty Powell’

George W Lambert, Australia/England 1873-1930 / Kitty Powell 1909 / Oil on canvas / 127 x 101cm / Purchased 1989 from the estate of Lady Trout with a special allocation from the Queensland Government / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

As Lamberts career as a society portraitist grew, he was busier and busier, and Amy threw herself completely into motherhood, a role she truly relished. A distance developed between husband and wife, reinforced by the nature of Lambert’s social and professional life which, as often as not, excluded women. In 1906, for example, he had joined the all-male Modern Society of Portrait Painters and many evenings were spent socialising with expatriate artists Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and George Coates, as well as the British painters. By 1907 Lambert was earning a sizeable income from his society portraits, thus enabling him greater freedom outside the home.9 The household became a complex one of competing egos and it is this domestic drama that Lambert — subconsciously perhaps — has painted in Portrait group (The mother).

George W Lambert ‘Portrait group (The mother)’

George W Lambert, Australia/England 1873-1930 / Portrait group (The mother) 1907 / Oil on canvas / 204.5 x 162.5cm / Purchased with the assistance of S.H. Ervin 1965 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Portrait group (The mother) depicts Amy in a billowing cream silk dress, her hat in hand and her hair tied casually behind. She seems to be a woman totally at peace with her life and with her role as the mother of the two small boys.10 Thea Proctor, her arm placed lightly on Amy’s shoulder, is dressed much more formally and wears a large, plumed hat. The two women, leaning towards each other in a fond embrace, are represented very much as equals, though quite differently and subtly distinguished as the maternal woman and the professional woman. The older boy, Maurice, stands independently of the two women and stares at the artist, in a pose reminiscent, as Anne Gray identifies, of several well-known seventeenth-century portraits.11 The baby, dressed in luxuriant cream silk taffeta, all but merges with his mother, to whom he clings.

The composition, an unbalanced triangle, constantly forces the eye’s attention back to the face of the mother. The rich effects of silk, taffeta, feathers, lace, ribbons and velvet effectively conjure an impression of an earlier period and resulted from Lambert’s study of the work of Velázquez. Lambert’s friendship with Hugh Ramsay, when both were students in Paris, also reinforced his interest in the problems posed by the use of white-on-white. It is the technical mastery achieved in the handling of colour and texture that makes Portrait group (The mother) one of Lambert’s best.

Lambert also achieved a dazzling boldness through silhouetting his models in front of a pale blue and white sky, a technique he used in most of his major paintings. As he wrote in his unpublished autobiography, he was interested in Revivalism, in finding a way to combine the traditions of the great masters of painting with a modem technical proficiency.

Edited extract from ‘Family and a special friend: George Washington Lambert Portrait group (The mother)‘ from Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850-1965, Queensland Art Gallery, 1998. Dr Candice Bruce is former Curator, Australian Art, QAGOMA.

1 See Andrew Wilton, The Swagger Portrait: Grand Manner Portraiture in Britain from Van Dyck to Augustus John, 1630-1930 [exhibition catalogue], Tate Gallery, London, 1992.
2 Andrew Motion, The Lamberts: George, Constant & Kit, Chatto & Windus, London, 1986, p.28.
3 Amy Lambert, The Career o f G. W. Lambert, A. R. A.: Thirty Years of an Artist’s Life, Society of Artists, Sydney, 1938, p.25; reprinted by Australian Artist Editions, Sydney, 1977.
4 At his death, George Lambert’s estate listed great quantities of clothes amongst his possessions (see Lambert Papers, MSS 97/13, Mitchell Library, Sydney).
5 Amy’s father, Edward Abseil, had migrated from London in the 1890s to Sydney hoping to continue his work as a cooper. Shortly after their arrival, however, he lost all his money (see Motion, p.31).
6 See Anne Gray, George Lambert 1873-1930: Art and Artifice, Craftsman House, Roseville East (NSW), 1996, p.59.
7 Motion, p.49.
8 Baptised Leonard Constant, the Lamberts’ second son was always called by his middle name.
9 See Gray, George Lambert 1873-1930: Art and Artifice, p.42. Gray contexts Lambert’s art particularly well in relation to the work of his British contemporaries, especially William Strang, Glyn Philpot and Augustus John.
10 It is not surprising to know that, of all the family portrait groups, this work was Amy Lambert’s favourite (see Anne Gray, George Lambert 1873-1930: Catalogue raisonné, Bonamy Press in association with Sotheby’s and the Australian War Memorial, Perth, 1996, p.23).
11 Gray, George Lambert 1873-1930: Catalogue raisonné, pp.22-3.

Portrait of George Lambert

May Moore, New Zealand 1881-1931 / George Lambert c.1929 / Gelatin silver photograph / 20cm x 14.2cm / Purchased 2015 / Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra / Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery

Featured image detail: George W Lambert Portrait group (The mother) 1907


Built on each other: Grace Crowley and Ralph Balson


In 1966 oral historian Hazel de Berg asked Grace Crowley to talk about her friend and colleague Ralph Balson. Crowley spoke of her surprise and envy at the ease with which Balson painted his first abstract works: ‘Balson I believe to have been born an abstract painter. He was born that way, while I had to be educated that way’.1 Although they had known each other in the 1920s, when Crowley was the teacher and Balson a pupil at the weekend sketch classes at Julian Ashtons Sydney Art School, it was not until many years later that they would develop a deep and abiding friendship.2 Balson inspired Crowley, though, ultimately, it was his career that benefited the most. ‘You built on each other’, comments Hazel de Berg in the interview. ‘Yes, that’s right, we built on each other’, agreed Crowley.

In 1926, with her friend Anne Dangar, Grace Crowley went to France where for almost five years she studied with two of the best teachers of the day, André Lhote and Albert Gleizes. As early members of the cubist movement, both Lhote and Gleizes had exhibited with the Section d’Or group in Paris in 1912 but had, by the late 1920s, shifted from their original theoretical and aesthetic positions. Lhote was especially important to Crowley’s artistic development. She attended his academy in Montparnasse and later, between 1927 and 1929, visited his summer school at Mirmande with Dangar and Dorrit Black.3

I saw for the first time the force that a drawing gained by being simplified into geometric shapes. I learned for the first time about dynamic symmetry. It was a revelation to find that in the Louvre the paintings I’d admired were constructed on a geometrical basis.4

Lhote’s teaching derived from Cézanne and was more conservative than the work of radical cubists, such as Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. Despite an adoption of cubic form and subsumed colour, Lhote still adhered to representational subject matter — the nude, the landscape, the still life — and practised a conventional post Cézanne faceting.

Returning to Australia in 1931, Crowley became involved with the Modern Art Centre established in Sydney by Dorrit Black and eventually set up her own school with fellow artist and friend Rah Fizelle. Crowley said of their teaching: ‘We were united in one belief, the constructive approach to painting, and this insistence on the abstract elements in building a design was the keynote of teaching of both Lhote and Gleizes’.5 Crowley had been introduced to Gleizes’s theories by Anne Dangar who had read his La Peinture et ses Lois. Gleizes’s tutoring asserted the importance of animating flatness so that a new perspective was created. ‘Flat planes were simultaneously to be set in motion and made to evoke space by being shifted across one another as if rotating about tilting, oblique axes.’6 These ideas were encouraged once again by Dangar who, having returned to France, continued to send Crowley small pocket-sized studies (pochades) for her to copy. It was through these that Crowley first understood the practice of sinking one form or plane into another. Similarly Lhotes notion of passage, in which a composition was integrated by passing one form over another, produced the impression of colours floating into one another.7

The partnership with Fizelle lasted six years before Crowley formed a connection with Ralph Balson. Balson, who had worked as a house painter from the age of 12, was mostly self-educated. He was an avid reader, not just of art books, but of poetry, music, novels and scientific theory. Crowley soon found that there was little she could tell him about overseas artistic trends.8 In about 1934 Crowley, Frank Hinder, Balson and Fizelle engaged a model and painted together on Saturday mornings at a studio at 215 George Street, Sydney. It was during this period that the friendship of the two artists strengthened.9 Crowley was impressed by Balson’s ability to grasp the essentials of constructive art without ever having studied abroad. He had, she commented, a natural instinct which made her sometimes feel that her own work was vastly inferior. Balson, said Crowley, would ponder on what to paint all week, realising it only on the weekends. His work as a house painter thus not only afforded him much time for thinking, it also accustomed him to handle large areas of paint with dexterity and ease’. He did not make preliminary sketches but memorised what he saw and then recorded it as quickly as he could on arriving at the studio.10 Crowley felt that the pupil had become the teacher.

Throughout the 1930s Crowleys school maintained a radically avant-garde approach, based on Lhotes teachings, which was well beyond the scope of most of its students. While it was a dynamic time — the Grosvenor Gallery strongly supporting the new trends expounded by Crowley, Fizelle, Balson and Frank and Margel Hinder — the majority of art practice and teaching, not to mention the art market, was conservative.11 Sydney, on the whole, favoured a modified form of Modernism derived from the English, rather than the French, tradition. This could be seen in the work of Roland Wakelin who, along with others with a similar style, showed at John Young’s Macquarie Galleries. Dorrit Black, Crowley and their circle felt that this ‘Anglified’ Modernism lacked the authentic ‘significant form’ of the French-inspired version, which was based instead on a deep understanding of both geometry and rhythm.

Though Crowley was already familiar with the theory of dynamic symmetry through André Lhote, it was once again put on the artistic agenda by Frank and Margel Hinder after their arrival in Australia in 1934. As Renée Free has noted, Frank Hinder read widely in the area of rhythmic form in art and possessed a large library of books which were no doubt circulated amongst his friends.12 Originally devised by the American mathematician Jay Hambidge, dynamic symmetry was a complex theory of the application of geometrical analysis to art. Drawn from the Thirteen Books of Euclid’s Elements, Hambidge’s theories were first published in the monthly magazine Diagonal, as a series of articles written by Hambidge in the winter of 1919 -20. These were published later in 1920 as The Elements of Dynamic Symmetry.13

Dynamic symmetry, wrote Hambidge, was obtained from the organic world and the ‘five geometrical solids’.14 It was based on notions of transition and movement, which can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians and which distinguished it from static symmetry. Hambidge also argued that artistic instinct and feeling must be tempered by intellect and knowledge, otherwise ‘incoherence’ would follow, and it is with this last point in particular that similarities with 1920s Classicism arose.15

While the theory was of most significance to the art of the Hinders, it certainly had an impact on Crowley, if not on Balson. Both Crowley and Balson were experimenting with pure abstraction and moving even further away from the Gleizes-influenced facetting, by using solid blocks of colour, a technique drawn from Henri Matisse. However, Crowley’s abstracts were freer and consciously asymmetrical. Balson’s works, on the other hand, were more static and relied on the balancing of horizontals and verticals.

In 1939 Crowley, Balson, Fizelle and Frank and Margel Hinder, along with Eleonore Lange, Frank Medworth and Gerald Lewers, came together to show their work at ‘Exhibition 1’ held at David Jones’ Exhibition Galleries. Though their intention was to create ‘a new realm of visual existence’,16 critics and the public responded coolly to their work. All persisted with abstraction, although with separate and individual distinctions. In 1941 Balson produced an exhibition of purely abstract works, entitled ‘Constructive Paintings’, drawn from his study of Piet Mondrian.17 The purity of Mondrian’s Neo-Plasticism and his belief in fundamental order initially had great appeal for Balson. His early 1940s works carry a hard-edged simplicity which, as art historian Mary Eagle has identified, was a foretaste of the Minimalism of the late 1960s and early 1970s.18 Mondrian, he later admitted, was the ‘single greatest influence’ on his work.19

Mondrian’s search for universal truth (sometimes through theosophy) appealed to Balson’s own philosophical and spiritual needs, though, as Bruce Adams has noted, ‘Balson’s geometric art was never as cool and elemental as Mondrian’s’.20 By the mid-1940s, particularly the period immediately following the development of the atom bomb, Balson came to reject the view of the universe as rigid and harmonious, in favour of a much more complex and organic belief system. The idea of an orderly universe seemed impossible to sustain in light of scientific developments such as nuclear fission and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and this led Balson to take a totally new direction in his art.

Ralph Balson, Australia 1890-1964 / Constructive painting 1947 / Oil on composition board / 69.5 x 90.7cm / Acc. 1984.060 / Purchased 1984 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Estate of the artist

While Balson’s earlier work in the 1940s made much use of the circle as a definitive shape and circular motion as a compositional device, in Constructive painting 1947 squares and rectangles seem to ‘float’ randomly across the canvas, shifting above, below and behind one another. These ‘patterns of great complexity’, as painter and critic James Gleeson described them, signified the direction that both Balson and Crowley would take over the next few years and would seem to be (at least in Crowley’s art) the painterly evidence of Hambidge’s ‘rectangle of the whirling square’. Both Crowley and Balson, according to Frank Hinder, had long been experimenting with coloured papers to achieve this effect and by the early 1950s both were painting abstract compositions of overlapping geometric blocks of tonal colour, though Balson stuck more rigidly to a formal grid than Crowley.21 Colour, too, is reduced (though not as reductive as some that followed in the early 1950s), with bands of barely distinguishable blue backgrounding pale pink, grey and yellow. As with Crowley’s painting, the creamy texture of the paint itself has been allowed expression — indeed Balson’s enjoyment of the physicality of the medium is palpable.

Grace Crowley, (Abstract) 1951
Grace Crowley, Australia 1890-1979 / (Abstract) 1951 / Oil on cardboard / 69 x 91cm / Purchased 1995. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Estate of the artist

Balson’s influence on Crowley’s art is best demonstrated by her 1950s abstracts. In her Abstract 1951, for example, the sky blue and hot pinks serve as a background to a humming mix of egg yolk yellow and bright orange, while the ‘rectangle of the whirling square’ spins across the canvas from right to left. Shapes and colours collide and float so that all sense of perspective is lost. Paint has been applied thickly, the brush dragging at the oil to create a deeply grooved effect. Crowley’s painting has an easy fluidity not present in either Balson’s or Frank Hinders work. This relaxation of form probably resulted from Crowley combining Hambidge’s theories with those of Lhote and Gleizes, whereas Balson drew many of his influences from Mondrian and contemporary French painting, and later, American Abstract Expressionism (towards which he would increasingly lean)22

Crowley and Balson remained painting partners and the best of friends until Balson’s death in 1964. They painted together at her cottage in Mittagong, and met up in Fondon and Paris in 1960 where they worked and visited galleries. A combination of self-deprecation and low self-confidence conspired to limit the number of surviving paintings by Crowley. She destroyed many of her own works when she closed her studio in George Street, stating matter-of-factly that ‘even the most famous artists do bad work’, and she was clearly uncomfortable with interviewers in speaking of her own art and her role in developing abstraction in mid-twentieth-century Sydney.23 Balson, on the other hand, enjoyed more success as time wore on, holding a total of eight solo exhibitions and many group exhibitions until his death in 1964.

Their deep friendship was easier to sustain than their collaborative success. Throughout their long partnership, Crowley loved to watch Balson paint. ‘People thought him rather morose, and he wasn’t… he was the happiest thing you could think of.’24

Edited extract by Dr Candice Bruce, former Curator, Australian Art, QAGOMA from Lynne Seear and Julie Ewington (eds). Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850-1965, Queensland Art Gallery, 1998. Dr Candice Bruce is former Curator, Australian Art, QAGOMA.

1  Hazel de Berg, ‘Interview with Grace Crowley’, 1966, tape recording, National Library of Australia, Canberra, published in Ralph Balson 1890-1964 [exhibition catalogue], Niagara Galleries, Melbourne, 1989, pp.2-3. The Hazel de Berg recordings were an oral history project of the National Library of Australia, Canberra.
2  After studying at Julian Ashton’s Sydney Art School (1915-18), Crowley met with family opposition to her chosen career. To support herself financially, she became Ashton’s assistant for several years, taking over from Elioth Grüner. Her family once again supported her financially while she lived in France. For Balson see Bruce Adams, Ralph Balson: A Retrospective [exhibition catalogue], Heide Park and Art Gallery, Bulleen (Vic.), 1989.
3  Both Crowley and Dangar sent regular letters from Europe to the Sydney Art School which were published in the school’s magazine, Undergrowth. See Helen Topliss, Modernism and Feminism: Australian Women Artists 1900-1940, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1996, pp.70-72, and Adams, pp.12-13.
4  Grace Crowley, quoted in Topliss, p.74.
5  Grace Crowley, letters to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 28 August and 1 September 1966, quoted in Renée Free, Balson, Crowley, Eizelle, Hinder [exhibition catalogue], Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1966, p.6.
6  Christopher Green, Cubism and Its Enemies: Modern Movements and Reaction in French Art, 1916-1928, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1987, p.88.
7  Topliss, p.78.
8  De Berg, p.2.
9  De Berg, p.2.
10  De Berg, p.2.
11  In August-September 1939 the David Jones’ Exhibition Galleries in Sydney held a quite revolutionary exhibition of Australian modernist art entitled ‘Exhibition 1 ‘, which contained work by these artists and Frank Medworth, Eleonore Lange and Gerald Lewers, but few works sold.
12  Renée Free, Frank and Margel Hinder, 1930-1980 [exhibition catalogue], Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1980, p.14.
13  Jay Hambidge, The Elements of Dynamic Symmetry, Dover Publications, New York, 1967; originally published by Yale University Press, New Haven, 1920.
14  Hambidge described the ‘five geometrical solids’ as the ‘cube, the tetrahedron, octahedron, icosahedron and the dodecahedron’. See Hambidge, p.xvi.
15  Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger in their essay ‘Cubism’ (1912), however, preferred the theorem of the German mathematician Bernhard Riemann to Euclid. See Gleizes & Metzinger, ‘Cubism’, in Robert L. Herbert (ed.), Modern Artists on Art: Ten Unabridged Essays, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1964, p.8.
16  Eleonore Lange, Foreword, in Exhibition 1 [exhibition catalogue], David Jones’ Exhibition Galleries, Sydney, August 1939, unpag.
17  Adams, p.27.
18  Mary Eagle, Australian Modern Painting between the Wars 1914-1939, Bay Books, Sydney, 1989, p.147.
19  Adams, p.26.
20  Adams, p.27.
21  Free, p.13.
22  Adams, p.30.
23  Lenore Nicklln, ‘Grace Crowley looks back on a lifetime of art’, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 1975, p.11.
24  Nicklin, p.11.

Something to think about

Although the shapes in Ralph Balson’s Constructive painting are two-dimensional, how has Balson created an image that appears three-dimensional? Also, can you determine how the shapes have been arranged from the background layers to the foreground in Grace Crowley’s (Abstract)? Try to retrace Crowley’s process in making this painting, shape by shape.

Create your own collage

Using different coloured cellophane or transparent sheets of paper make geometric shapes by cutting and pasting, use the cut-out shapes to construct a work that has a layered effect. Consider size, transparency and colour so that certain shapes stand out or appear suspended.

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