|Margaret Olley: A Life In Paint is an intimate one-hour documentary about one of Australia's best-loved painters. A well-known figure from the time she was painted by William Dobell in 1948, Olley's celebrity status tended to overshadow her life as a painter. This film puts Margaret OIley the painter on centre stage. Many believe her last works - those painted in the 18 months leading up to her death on 26 July 2011 - were amongst her finest.
Emeritus curator Barry Pearce calls the Sydney house in which Margaret lived her 'inner sanctum'. The house is the starting point for this documentary, as Pearce takes an intensely personal tour through the house which over time became more studio space than living space.
Olley bought the house in Duxford Street, Paddington, in 1964. It was a large Sydney terrace with an annex previously used as a hat factory. Between the 'hat factory' and the main house was a kind of transit area with bedsit room, small kitchen and bathroom. This was the 'yellow room' where she lived initially while renting out the rest of the house. In time, it became her muse and the subject of what Pearce calls 'her greatest masterpiece'.
The footage of Olley's house is all the more poignant now as the house is in the process of being archived and packed up for its re-creation at the Tweed River Art Gallery in a purpose-built extension.
Margaret Olley: A Life in Paint contains rare footage of Olley using her very distinctive painting process - with a board on her lap. She first chalks in a picture, then paints over in acrylic before using oil paint in the final step.
Production details: MARGARET OLLEY: A LIFE IN PAINT is produced by Catherine Hunter Productions. Director: Catherine Hunter.