Harold Taylor, Skethcbooks and History
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    Harold Taylor, Skethcbooks and History

    In the title "Skethcbooks" should read "Sketchbooks." There seemed to be no mechanism for correcting this spelling error. -Ron Price, Australia
    -----------------------------------------
    ITS "IDEAS NOT EYES" FOR ME

    Tonight I saw a half hour television program about one of the greatest artists in Australia's history: Howard Taylor(1918-2001). I had not even heard of him. In this world of burgeoning information in virtually all fields this is not surprising. I write this piece of prose-poetry as an exploration of the comparisons and contrasts between his work as a painter and sculptor and mine as a writer and poet and with a sense of appreciation for his work-life.

    His work in the years 1981 to 2001 was the result of decades of hard looking, thinking and searching relentlessly for two-dimensional visual equivalents, visual language, for the world around him. In 1981 Taylor was my age, 62. His was a labour of love and discovery. I, too, have searched relentlessly but not so much with hard-looking as with endless thinking, not-so-much love, for I have always found that an elusive term, but certainly a desire for discovery, especially a discovery of language and ideas. My pioneer life began in 1962 at the age of 18 and Taylor's adventure began in 1937 in the Royal Air Force at the same age.

    He came to yearn for a more disciplined way of working as he got older as I did by my fifties. For him the discipline was with his eyes, with visual perception and for me it was with the intellectual, with ideas and their transmission into words. His courtship was with "the closeness of making and doing" and mine was with the courtship of "the closeness of thinking and writing." His was a preoccupation with horizontal and linear space, but not in its duplication, its repetition. My preoccupation was with experience and thought, language and print. Taylor often revisited subjects to paint and motifs he had explored--as I do in my poetry time and time again.

    Taylor had more than 150 handbound sketchbooks and I have over 300 notebooks. Although he appreciated recognition when it came, his first interest was the pleasure he took in his own work. Both he and I digested many influences over the years and evolved our own language. He remarked on the inevitable drudgery involved in artistic work and I must admit to its exhausting features as well. He spoke, too, of his personal, his essential, preference for isolation in his day-to-day work and his avoidance of the social. By my sixties I felt the same way. -Ron Price with thanks to ABC TV, 29 October 2006, 11:10-11:40 p.m.

    I shall say no more here,
    but thank you Howard
    for your life and work,
    especially your style
    and way of going about
    things: you seem like
    more than brother
    more than true.

    No praise of mine
    is adequate to you.
    Comfort me now, Howard
    especially in my drudgery,
    comfort me
    who did not comfort you……

    Ron Price
    October 30 2006

    Last edited by RonPrice; December 11th, 2011 at 07:29 AM. Reason: to correct a spelling mistake
    married for 46 years, a teacher for 35, a writer and editor for 14, and a Baha'i for 54(in 2013).
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