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Drawing Rupert Murdoch

The guest speaker at the Lowy Institute Lecture and Dinner in October 2013 was Rupert Murdoch AC. The dinner was very well subscribed, the tables filling the Sydney Town Hall. When I arrived at the lobby I was guided to my table which I was pleased to see was situated adjacent to the stage and provided a close and unobstructed view of the lectern in front of the Grand Organ.  This was the very place where, no doubt, Mr Murdoch would be speaking. Happily positioned I was soon engaged in interesting conversation with the diners at my table.

There were a number of short speeches and then Mr Murdoch navigated his way among the distinguished company, from his table which was located in the centre of the hall, to the lectern and without ado commenced his lecture.

Rupert Murdoch by Paul Delprat 2013 2This was my opportunity to draw and I busied myself with brush pen and paper.  There is a concentrated energy in the face of this notable media baron and in the mobility of his expression.

It attracted my notice, as I drew, to hear a characteristic Australian timbre in the voice of a man who has spent so much of his life in the wider English speaking world. It was an interesting speech, forward looking, which one might expect from a man who has never stood still in an ever changing media world. He showed us an example of state of the art technology, a wrist device that links the wearer with the planet.

A fellow diner at the table took the liberty of passing my sketchbook around the table.  Several said they thought I had caught a good likeness and there was general agreement that I should show the drawings to Mr Murdoch.

So encouraged, I wended my way between the tables greeting friends and acquaintances along the way.

 I arrived at the top table and leaning over Mr Murdoch’s shoulder I introduced myself and reminded him that he had given me an art award many years ago when he had just bought the Mirror Newspaper in Sydney. He remembered that time. Then, somewhat apprehensively, I showed him the drawings. He registered approval and smiled. “Good”.  There were many who wanted his attention, so I retraced my steps to an excellent dessert that was waiting for me at my table.

Rupert Murdoch by Paul Delprat 2013 1Photographs do not tell even part of the story of the energy and subtlety in a face.

In my experience it is necessary to observe from life and, using the alchemy of art, put down the image, in this case of one of one of the most significant public figures of our time.

Paul Delprat

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Sir Douglas Mawson Centenary Expedition

Leopard seal and trapped shipAustralia has sent its largest and most ambitious expedition, comprising 60 scientists, to Antarctica over Christmas to follow up the scientific work done by Sir Douglas Mawson one hundred years ago. The measurements that Mawson collected are perceived as being vital as part of the charting of global warming.

The necessary ground work currently being done, combined with the vast quantity of Mawson data, is necessary to build computer models.

The Russian research vessel Akademik Skokalsky, commissioned to convey the scientists, became trapped in the heavy pack ice on Christmas day. There were concerns that a Chinese ice breaker Xue Long in an heroic attempt to reach the stricken vessel was also trapped in the ice. The Chinese ship’s helicopter transferred the group of scientists from the Akademic Shokasky to ice near the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis. The Aurora suspended the resupply of Casey Station to rescue the 52 passengers from the Russian ship.

On one of the occasions when I was exhibiting with Kym Bonython in Adelaide and staying with my great aunt Paquita, who was the widow of the great explorer, she recalled that Mawson had told her. “Down South you attend to every detail but predict the unexpected.”  Lady Mawson had to wait anxiously for news from Antarctica unlike the more fortunate connected families of today’s scientists. The rescue mission has been a success. We all hope that this drama resolves itself quickly and that all the icebreaker mariners and scientists from the countries involved come home safely.

We are reminded that a century after the Mawson expedition and the associated tragic loss of life, the ice continent remains hazardous in the extreme.

It appears that leopard seals have shrunk in size over the intervening century possibly because of environmental change. There is so much we need to know on their behalf and our own.

I see the seals and penguins diving on the edge of the ice floes, oblivious in their natural environment to the dramatic events that have unfolded nearby.


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Best wishes from Principality of Wy for 2014

Walking tree ferns of WyWhat a pleasure it is to draw in the totally magical landscape of the Principality of Wy.

We of Wy all love drawing and find great pleasure in capturing the random way in which the forest of Wy rearranges itself to provide pleasing new vistas.

Our unique copse of hybrid walking tree ferns is a great joy.

Real is real – Wy is Wy. 

Occasionally flights of fantasy cause members of the Serene Family to wistfully imagine the joy of riding a bicycle up some sort of AccessWy to the wider world.

Imaginary AccessWyHere Prince Paul conjures that dream in paint.

All at the Principality of Wy, this year celebrating our first Decade of Secession, send best wishes to our friends and supporters around the world, which, from our correspondence, is pretty well everyone.

On New Years Eve the fireworks over Sydney Harbour were again magnificent and Sydneysiders of all ages lined the foreshores to party into the New Year.  

This year, for the first time fireworks were sent skywards from the iconic Sydney Opera House. On the television at Wy we viewed with great delight the vivid displays in other cities. With the refinement of pyrotechnics in colour and shape fireworks are rapidly becoming an awesome art form. It may not be far distant when we see The Mona Lisa recreated in a dramatic fireworks display.

There is no doubt that the painting “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso had a profound impact on the world’s perception of the horror of war. Is there a role in 2014 and beyond, for artists in drawing attention to what appears to be a truly global crisis, the ongoing warming of the planet?

Young artists from cold countries like Russia that has a great artistic tradition and bold new world Canada are aware of extremes of climate as are sun baked tropical countries like Brazil. The art of every country is the mirror that each of us shines on one another. Images from spacecraft of our world are the sum total of that beauty.

Art speaks all languages. May your painting, above all, bring you happiness. 

P1030709 copy 2Venturing into the “Bay of The World” on New Years Day, Paul painted Peggy’s Point from the Serene Sloop Wy.   Art is always a serene occupation even on a rolling boat , yet it is just something we quietly do for ourselves that afterwards others may share.

We of Wy wish you well for 2014