1942 – 2007, A Tribute
Below are samples of Richard's work.
Click any thumbnail image below to enlarge it, or view all as a slideshow:
By Di Collins
I first met Richard at a dinner party that Chris and Kit Ridpath hosted and Richard Treated us with his famous chicken curry dinner. The group made plans to support Richard in starting an Art School (this was in 1991) a dream that Richard had fostered for many years.
From the beginning, Richard set a high standard for the school. With his extensive experience and love for teaching, and endless imagination, a huge sense of the ridiculous along with flashes of impersonating and sometimes hilarious, other times just plain brilliant, the ability to stir in the students a vision of a broader world through art.
Richard was a gentleman in the true sense of the word with this combination of attributes along with sense of fairness, acceptance and compassion; he made an army of friends.
Many wonderful tributes will be made to Richard today–about his love for his family and his extended family. What I want to say is that he was one of the most gentle men, in the truest sense of the term. And also, he was one of the most generous.
If a student needed to use a particular brush at an art class, Richard instantly said, "Use this brush," and most often he was offering one of his own valuable sable brushes. If someone needed a particular, perhaps difficult-to-obtain paint, he said immediately, " I have that colour–use mine." His paints were always top of the line.
If a student arrived without a sheet of 200 lb. watercolour paper or oil-painting canvas required to complete that day's project, Richard always went to his own storehouse of paper or canvas, cut the paper or stretched the sheet, and brought it to the student's desk.
Richard was never irritated with a student–given his talent, he must have had plenty of opportunities to feel that way! But he never expressed impatience. Not once. If he ever inwardly felt exasperation with someone, it would have revealed itself--because Richard was forthright and honest. His critique of every student's painting was always fair, candid, and accurate–and never uncaring. He always found the best thing to remark on about any student's artwork, no matter what its worth.
And he was witty. What made Richard's art classes different and extremely popular was that he brought into his class a wry and gifted intelligence, which he never misused. He employed both his artistic genius and his humaneness to make every student feel special and worthy.
Richard was an extraordinary person. Thus far, I, Patty, have spoken about him only as "the sublime teacher." To those who were fortunate enough to be considered one of his closest friends, as I was, he was an excellent human being; a quicksilver, insightful and observant comrade; and a fervent, unwavering ally.
Riccardo did a watercolour for the cover of my second collection of short stories ten years ago, and on Thursday, Sept. 27, he finished a watercolour for the cover of my third collection, being published this spring. I phoned him Friday evening, Sept. 28, at 9:00 to tell him that the publisher loves the watercolour. Riccardo sounded great, and he was delighted that his work would be appearing on another book cover. It was on this very happy note that we ended our conversation.
A Message from the Director, Richard Hayman (B.A.)
Welcome to the Art School of Peterborough formerly The Lakefield School of Fine Arts. After a long career at Lakefield College School in 1991 I opened a studio in Lakefield to embark on a second career as a professional portrait painter. During the next year I painted a number of diverse and interesting subjects including Trent University President John Stubbs, Albert College Headmaster Simon Bruce-Lockhart, Montreal Canadian Bob Gainey and a one-man Marilyn Monroe show in Toronto with 30 works in oil/pastel of "Candle in the Wind".
However, at this time I realized that my vocation for teaching was still strong and I noticed a small one room school house on the outskirts of Lakefield for rent and the idea for an art school for both children and adults was born and in the Fall of 1993 The Lakefield School of Fine Arts opened its doors for business. While it is impossible to thank everybody that helped in this venture, there were a number of people who were pivotal in the founding process, namely Diana Collins, Kit and Chris Ridpath, Barbara Holtz and Matt and Nancy Shaw. After a shaky first year with limited enrolment we realised that we had to move closer to our market with the facilities to expand our programme and in the Fall of '94 we moved to the Charlotte Mews in Peterborough where we are today. However we would not have survived that first year without the exceptional financial help of Sir Christopher Ondaatje. He is a much-respected financier, art collector and a former governor of Lakefield College School.
We are now in our 14th year as a not-for-profit private art school. Our longevity is a tribute to the fact that we offer the most professional and extensive programme in the visual arts in the county of Peterborough for both children and adults. The quality of instruction has also been the major key to our success and many thanks must be given to the teachers, volunteers and Board members who have helped us provide a quality programme from painting and drawing to mixed media, cartooning, mask and puppet making and finally to a pottery studio with state of the art equipment.
The flood in 2004 really tested our resolve and threatened our existence but with major help from students, the City of Peterborough, AON Inc. and our insurance company we were able to rebuild and regroup and we now have a better facility than the one we nearly lost.
Before we present our mission statement I would like to make a few comments on what I would call Art and Life. What I have enjoyed most over the past decade has been to watch so many people open a whole new creative window on their lives metaphorically and almost literally. So much of art is about learning to see and to realize as Einstein said: "imagination is more important than knowledge". He was saying this to everybody but as artists we have a "leg up". Art may not be necessary for success but it may be necessary to survive in the fragmentation and stress of modern life. The parallels of life and art are many – much of what we treasure in life are the same things we strive for in our art. People striving for simplicity, balance, harmony, design, excitement, diversity or unity can find these same qualities in art.
The following interview with Richard Hayman, by Patricia Stone, took place on July 18, 2005.
1. The Peterborough school of Fine Arts was initially known as "The Lakefield School of Fine Arts" since it was in Lakefield that you first opened a school in 1993. Requiring more space as word spread and the success of the school grew, you moved the school to the Charlotte Mews in Peterborough in 1994. What did you initially view as the school's goal?
The original goal was to offer adults and children an enriched art education that they could not get through the school system; for example there's no school in Peterborough that teaches watercolour. We wanted to provide--to open creative windows for adults in a way that other places couldn't, mainly through the quality of instruction which I think is very high. When we went into business, the SSFC program had more or less closed, Buckhorn closed, Peterborough Board of Education art classes had closed and there was no place to go. I think especially of our pottery program–we have a program that I really feel is equal to anything that Haliburton has to offer in terms the number of potters' wheels, kilns, incredible glazes and once again a high quality of instruction from professional potters. It's one way we've been able to connect with Trent U. Many students have come to us from Trent and a number of them have stayed for a few years and then have gone on to ceramic programs at universities, at Nova Scotia's School of Design, etc.
2. How does teaching art–pottery, portraiture, watercolour, etching–complement your personal career as an artist?
As a professional artist what you're trying to do is express yourself in increasingly personal terms. At some times, imagination is hard to get and I think that when I'm teaching pottery or watercolour or etching, the student input--looking at what they're doing--affects what I might do and I will often do work to illustrate for them and out of that comes my own inspiration, so it's a two-way street . I open doors for them and they in a sense indirectly sponsor me.
3. Years ago, your artistic emphasis was on pottery, and then for a long time you focussed on commissioned portraits and watercolour painting. What led you back to pottery making?
That's interesting--people often ask what my favourite medium is. What appeals to me about pottery is that it's the only medium that embodies the four elements of life–wind, earth, air and fire. I'm fascinated by the fact that 3,000 yrs. ago, the Chinese and Japanese were doing pots that we can no longer duplicate. They set the standard. So from a historical point of view, it's tremendously important to me and, as clichéd as it sounds, taking a lump of mud and making something quite beautiful out of it has tremendous appeal and that appeal has never diminished. There are times when I've gotten--as many potters get--"ceramic indigestion," and you just don't want to ever throw another butter dish. But you always come back to bowls, back to the process, which is magical. And the challenge of creating new glazes which keeps us all afloat. No matter how beautiful or bad your pot is, if it has a lousy glaze on it, it's not going to be good.
4. What age groups make up the Art School's enrolment?
Children's programs are aged 6 – 14. We've always had a hard time getting the 16 – 18 yr. olds–1) Because they don't want to be in a class where there's a 12 yr. old, and 2) maybe it's just not cool to go to school at the art school. I would think that in our adult courses, the average age would be in the 40s, 50s. And there are really two types; there are people who are professionals or retired, who can afford to come during the day; and then there are people, many teachers and people who work at the MNR, etc. who can come only at night. But what is impressive about all of them is that this is not the "blue-rinse" set that just wants to do something as a kind of pastime. But they're all very committed, it's not a hobby for them, they're really committed in terms of acquiring real skills in terms of oil painting, watercolours or drawing, and to me that commitment has been quite extraordinary from no matter what age. The oldest student, Lucille Garvey, who's a nun--she's 82 and absolutely delightful.
5. Describe the ideal art pupil.
The ideal art pupil is somebody who sees a tremendous barrier between themselves and their ability to create. He/she would have the courage to walk through that door and say, "I want to make art." The good news is that, for e.g. in drawing, which is the basis of every single course that we teach, there's this wonderful book by Betty Edwards called "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," which in a sense allows the absolute beginner to attain a degree of expression and control in their drawing. I've seen that happen time and time again during my years [of teaching] at Lakefield College or here. . . .
Someone who is really committed to acquiring skills, who's not afraid to do a bit of homework, not afraid to try and fail.
6. I've had trouble understanding Andy Warhol's artistic success. I even find myself occasionally bewildered by Picasso. How do you define the word "art"?
I think that in the 20th century, it became a battle between illusion and reality, and people like Picasso said that art should be appreciated for what it is and not what it represents. His idea was that art is a two-dimensional process, whereas traditionally, the picture frame was a window through which you looked into an illusion of reality, which was false, in terms of reality. So Picasso painted through that abstraction--Cubism, which emphasized the fact that art was a two-dimensional process and he wanted people to enjoy it for what it was rather than for it represented. I think that Jackson Pollack took it--Andy Warhol, too--to the next level. They chose art as a way of expressing their views about Marilyn Monroe or Campbell soup cans. In the long term, in 1,000 years, I don't think we're going to look back at Warhol with any kind of legitimacy–but he was sponsored by all the wealthy people in New York--the Vanderbilts, etc.-- who loved to use art as a kind of way of making their token payment to the Nation. And so they sponsored him. I think that most of his art is quite nonsense, and it's not worth $200,000, but it's still a legitimate thing that he just drew or painted in an expressive way over a canvas, and unfortunately the prices that these things get have kind of deformed their importance. I think they're important but not THAT important, not as important as the prices they get.
So how do you define the word "art"?
I think art is a way of responding to the visual world, the intellectual world, the emotional world, the world of dreams, the world of fantasy and the world of reality and, once again, that the most useful thing about art is that it can become metaphor for ourselves. When someone digs up a Michelangelo, we recognize it as a Michelangelo because of his style and that's because he expressed himself in enormously personal terms. And that's what being an artist about, whether you're a singer, a writer–you want to express yourself in increasingly personal terms so then the world can see you more clearly, you can see yourself more clearly, and I think that enriches your life.
7. Who are your favourite artists?
I'm an enormous fan of the Renaissance: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello. Maccio would be at the top of the list. Tragically, he died when he was 25 and no one really knows what happened to him. I love Impressionist works. My favourite artist of all time is Daumier, who was a 19th Century cartoonist/photographer. He poked fun at the bourgeoisie, at judges, at life. I don't think there's anyone in the history of art, apart from Michelangelo, who could draw as well as Daumier. And of course Rembrandt, Reubens, Vermeer--especially Vermeer. He has a very special part of my life.
8. This may be a related question: which artists have most infuenced your work?
I would say Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer. I'e always admired Danby's work. Andrew Wyeth single-handedly raised watercolour from being a decorative thing you saw on chocolate boxes to the level of fine art with his compositions, the power of his subject matter, value contrasts. There was nothing vague about his stuff.
9. How old were you when you realized that you had a special gift for many forms of visual art?
I was 3 months old. [Laughter] I was about 8 or 9 years old. And I discovered that I loved drawing and painting things. At that age I started going to art galleries and just marvelled at what the Old Masters could do. I was 12 yrs. old when I did a copy of a Constable, which my mother still has.
10. How do you find a successful balance between being compelled by artistic inspiration and the necessity of making a living through teaching?
In the early parts of "La Boheme", the young artist talks to a maid and says, "I'm poor but I'm rich in my imagination and rich in terms of my painting," and I think that's pretty much how I feel, too. I wish I could market myself as an artist, but artists are notoriously bad at doing that. I'm looking at getting an agent, but on the other hand, you do feel rich in terms of you get up every day and you get to do something creative, whether it's a pot, a watercolour, or portrait, but it's difficult balancing thing.
11. The success of the PSFA depends not only on you, the Artistic Director, but also on many individuals such as Debbie Murphy, the front-line administrator, Board Members Sally Chenowith, Bill Lockington, Peter Shewchuk, and others who volunteer considerable time and energy to the School. What is the biggest challenge facing you and your many Art School colleagues at this time?
The biggest challenge is enrolment. We know we're doing some good things and we know that a lot of people out there appreciate what we're doing. But from a demographic, it's almost as if there's only a certain percentage of people in Peterborough who will do an art course. If you tried to sell them an art program at the Memorial Centre on a Thursday night, when the Petes were playing, you'd have zero success. If you target say, some Trent people, you have some success. And advertising is so expensive, so we have to find a way of getting volunteers, former students, Friends of the Art School, of which there are many, to play a more vigorous part in getting students to realize what a wonderful place it is. If I had a nickel for everybody who walks in and says "This is a great place, I've never heard of you before" . . . !! That's one of our problems. An ad in the Examiner is $1300. We can't afford that.
11. Does the PSFA function not only a school, but as a gallery? Is it a place where people might visit to view the work of students, instructors–or even of work done by artists outside of the school?
Very much so. In fact, legally, in order to have a private art school, we have to offer works for sale. And we do many times during the year–throughout the year, we try to have a major show at Xmas, sometimes at the end of a course. W don't really like people who are not associated with the Art School to have an exhibition, but students are encouraged to sell their work, and we encourage students to go into the Buckhorn amateur art contest, which often results in a sale of a work.
12. The art school was severely affected by the July 15, 2004 flood. How did the community help you to restore things? I know you lost nearly all the library of art books, for instance, along with kilns, wheels, etc.
Potentially, it was a catastrophic event. It's a teaspoon compared with a tsunami–but it initially it did look like we might go out of business because we lost so many things. But, some wonderful things happened: our insurance company came through, the City came through, and most importantly, the students gave us over $16,000 and with that money and the City's money, we were able to rebuild, and ironically we probably now have a better facility than the one we had. But it was a tremendously bruising experience because we did face extinction, but I can't over-emphasize how much the students gave us–the money, the tools to rebuild new kilns, new wheels, tables, chairs, walls. We had over 4 feet of sewage and water and we basically wiped out our downstairs studio.
13. The School's Fall Art auction has always been a favourite event in Ptbo. What aspect of the auctions do you most enjoy?
When we started the auctions, we were willing to auction anything, but now I realize that what makes us unique as an organization, unlike any other non-profit organization, we have the ability to make things to sell, to make paintings and etchings, and drawings, and they don't cost us anything. So now our Auction, which is well attended, is basically an art auction where people coming have the opportunity to buy an original work of art, very economically. It's an important fundraiser for the school. There's a silent auction in which we do sell everything under the sun–tickets to games, duvets, perfumes, and so on. But the main auction, now, is entirely an art auction, which celebrates the work of students and staff. We do a lot of reproductions of the Old Masters, which seems to have done well, and a lot of original ones.
14. Name three of your happiest memories since beginning the art school.
Not necessarily in order–the pottery grogram is very dear to me, and two years ago we raised a lot of money out of doing some "Liftlock" prints and we were able to buy some Shimpo potters wheels, which are the finest wheels in the world, and the change in the pottery studio was quite magical. We used to have these old wheels, which were not good for kids, and the whole place just sounded like an engineering studio. And suddenly we had these quiet wheels, the "Shimpo whisper" and a kind of meditative atmosphere descended on the pottery program, which is very important in terms of pottery. So that's one of my happy memories. The next memory is closely related, when the Shimpo wheels arrived, my two sons were in town–and they're very good potters–and for the first time in my life I sat down and threw pots with them and the three of us worked together. That was pretty memorable. The other most memorable thing is realizing a couple of years ago that we were here to stay, that we were a very important organization in Peterborough, and that there were enough people around who were not going to let us disappear, that we are doing some really important things, and it's beginning to get through. I now don't worry about people coming to our Auction. But I worry about not having enough watercolour students, but not pottery students, so enrolment is a bit of a challenge–maybe because of the Flood, who knows? Money's tight.
15. In the past you taught summer art classes in Siena, Italy. For years, every fall you have led a group to Florence for a tour. What is it about Tuscany that artists find so inspirational?
If you're going to look at art as an apex, then at the top of that apex is the work of Michelangelo and Leonardo. The Renaissance was the greatest change in direction that Western civilization has ever had. If we look today at what we hold dear--about art or personality or architecture or philosophy or science–that was all born in the Renaissance. What the founders of the Renaissance wanted to do was imitate, equal and surpass the achievements of classical art and they did all that and more; and what they brought to the table that was new was a new interest in nature. Look at Leonardo Da Vinci: he wanted to know how things grew; he wanted to know how anatomy worked, how streams came down a mountainside. So Florence is like a city frozen in time and offers you a chance to see all those works of the Renaissance--and situated right where they were, untouched, and there are no steel fences around them.
16. You have created many beautiful watercolour scenes of our snowy Ontario winters. Given your "druthers", would you choose to teach and create art in Siena or here?
I don't think I'm interested in teaching art in Siena. I would be interested, as I am, in taking people to Siena to see it. There are so many art schools in Italy--my ultimate would be to take 18 students for a 4 or 5 week trip to Florence and Siena and get them painting and drawing from life.
17. You have two very educated sons : Coryn is a medical doctor and Patrick is doing a Ph.D. in Geology. How have they supported your life as an artist?
I think they have supported life as an artist because they have tremendous respect for the artistic process. So the fact their father basically earns his living out of being an artist is absolutely fine with them, because they're good artists themselves and they really respect, revere and admire my work.
18. Richard, on one or two memorable occasions, upon viewing one of my own fledgling paintings, you've told me, "That's a lovely frame." (!!) What makes a painting good?
Good question. There are so many factors that go into a good painting. The most important is composition: the relationship between the elements of the painting and the rectangular frame that encloses it. Having three values is maybe the next thing we'd look into. Then there's all sorts of vague things like subject matter, inspiration, colour, dynamism, originality. But composition is the most important. There can never be wrong reasons for liking a painting. The picture you have of that rainbow in summer, which you know makes me want to throw up [laughter from interviewer!] . . . . But if _you_ like it, that's all that's important. There are, however, wrong reasons for disliking a painting. To say that Picasso's work is difficult--to understand a good painting, you have to understand what is the artist's intent and if you can see it.
19. What are the secrets to making a portrait come alive?
Portraits are interesting because they call for two commitments: there's the commitment of the artist and also the commitment of the sitter, the subject: how much is the subject going to let you know about them? how much of what they really are, are you going to capture? That's interesting--when I painted a Trent U. President, we had a photographic session, and it was a disaster. I took 72 photographs, and he was so tense I thought, I'm never going to do this again. So, I bought a bottle of sherry and I went over and I gave him about five sherries and he relaxed. You hear little corny things about "capturing a likeness" and maybe on rare occasions, that really happens. Basically, what you want to capture, because you always have to face the wife (or husband) of the person you're painting, is a flattering likeness--so you take off bumps and ridges and bags. It's very difficult to generalize. People always say the eyes are the most important part of it, but they're not. The most important part of a portrait is the line between the top lip and the bottom lip because that describes the demeanour, the happiness, the despair, the inspiration, the character of the person. It's one single line. And it can be so complex. That's actually what sells the portrait.
20. What would you say are your best qualities as a teacher?
Probably "very handsome. . ." [Laughter] I think my qualities are that I can break down the complex business of making art into a series of steps that students can assimilate, not necessarily control, but they can see how the whole art process goes, and I think that I'm lucky to be able to demonstrate every single thing I teach. I can demonstrate a drawing; I can demonstrate an oil painting, and certainly in pottery. I think being able to demonstrate every aspect of sculpting, etching–my ability to demonstrate all aspects of the technical process is important.
21. Dare I ask what your weakness is?
I sometimes find it difficult to cope with people who don't really have a true commitment, people who are obviously there kind of as hobby and don't take the subject seriously--then my commitment kind of goes down and I tend to lose patience. It doesn't often happen.
22. Do you have a life, i.e. a hobby, outside of teaching and doing your art?
No, I mean, I don't have a hobby, I don't need a hobby. Every day (as I try to tell the Board) it's not a question of what should I do, because I have all sorts of choices every day–will it be pottery or etching, etc. I mean, my art is my hobby.
23. Most people know that you have a British heritage, but fewer know that you were actually raised in India; your mother died when you were only two years old, and your father was a rather absent and stern man. Does a difficult childhood contribute to the impulse to create art?
I don't know, but when I was in Karachi, when I was 7 or 8, my stepmother got to know a Pakistani portrait painter, whose name was Fasai Rahmin, whose work can be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and he was one of Pakistan's most noted portrait painters, and he used to mix his colours from the pigments in the earth. I think that's probably what sparked my interest in portrait painting. When I went to school, my art teacher was an exhibitor at the National Portrait Galley, and he was a renowned portrait painter and I watched him paint lawyers, and politicians and judges, I was very young–10, 11, 12–and I fell in love with art, especially portrait painting and that explains why I'm into portrait painter today.
24. Is it possible for a person to become a good artist without art instruction?
Well, I don't think so. It's interesting you know. People look at Van Gogh and say he was mad. Actually, if you look at his paintings, like "Starry, Starry Night," they're organized on the most conservative, legitimate, one-third/two-third standards. All of his paintings are. I think his art stopped him from going mad. He certainly was not a mad artist. His compositions are as conservative as yours and mine--I don't know, maybe yours. [Laughter.]
24. I once heard a Candian author say that she didn't and couldn't write when she was happy. Can you comment on this in terms of your own artistic drive?
I would say, from my little knowledge, that the art of writing is so much more complex and difficult than the art of painting or etching, because we can work, without caring a great deal about the world, we don't need to. . . Most of the art I do is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. I think writing, and I know little about it, is probably the opposite. I think that writing is so difficult, and it's so hard to bounce things off people; if you just have the written word, it's hard to take a script to a student and say, "What do you think?" When I'm working on a portrait, a hundred people can come in and say, "It's fabulous!" As a writer, you can't sort of blow up your work and get people to look at it. I think writing is more difficult.
I'm wondering if art generally is motivated by unhappiness.
I think the inspiration for a tremendous, personal expression in painting or whatever could be the result of unhappiness, but the reason that the Renaissance worked–this is very important, actually–as Kenneth Clark says, great moves in terms of uptakes of civilization come through periods of tremendous confidence; and that's what the Renaissance had. So, the opposite is true then--that the Medici's, Michelangelo and company, there was a tremendous confidence in what they were doing. That's when great leaps in civilization happen. But what is interesting is that it also produced the idea of an artist as a brooding personality with a lot of intellectual, emotional, psychological baggage. That happened in the Renaissance, too. Look at Michelangelo: he was a tortured person from beginning to end. He was a person who embraced this kind of platonic beauty and then totally rejected it at the end of his life, so that's an interesting question. I think Kenneth Clarke is right about the confidence, but the thing is art doesn't exist in a vacuum–you need people who will pay for it. The people who paid for the Renaissance were the Medici's, and the Popes. But the people who produced it were for the most part, somewhat tortured, brooding. I mean, if you look at Michelangelo's poems, what a tortured kind of guy he was. If you look at his "Last Judgement" where he shows himself as Mars, who was flayed.
25. Despite the current atmosphere of terrorist-driven fear, is there a place in the world you would like to visit in order to capture its particular ambience on canvas–or do you always go back to Florence?
The interesting thing was, when we were there last October, we spent a day in the country with this wonderful girl called Maria, and while the students were having lunch or going into a cathedral, she was talking, and she said the greatest fear in Italy, especially in Florence, was that they feared a suicide bomber would get on a bus and blow it up right in front the Duomo, the Cathedral, and she said if that happens, the whole tourist industry in Florence is over and billions would be lost. But it's still the place I would come back to. The interesting thing is that in Italy, artists are at the top of the social spectrum, not the bottom. They call you "professori." They love you. If you give them stuff, they put it up on the wall. The Italian people so admire anyone who can draw anything. I'll be drawing in Florence, and a group of people will come around and they are so supportive. It is one of greatest art centres–the taxi drivers know as much about Michelangelo as I do. They're so proud of their city. There are so many things I'd love to draw and paint in Florence.
So you have no desire to see and paint Ayres Rock in Australia, or Macchu Piccu in Peru, the Great Wall in China?
A now for a few Vanity Fair-style questions.
26. What is your most treasured possession?
My Waterman fountain pen from Paris.
27. What do you most value in your friends?
People who are supportive and who are willing to see your aches. What did Edna St. Vincent Millay say?–" My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--It gives a lovely light!" [cited from poem entitled First Fig] People who are willing to support you through the good times and the bad, and set no price on their support.
28. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A vodka and orange in a canoe on the Arno at dawn looking at the Cypress trees in the fog. And you can see the fog, just as Michelangelo saw it, from the Ponte de Vecchio. I mean, he stood in the same place–that sounds facetious . . . . Obviously being recognized and kind of making my mark as an artist is the most important thing, and I think the respect of my peers, rather than any kind of Walmart success. I like the fact that George Stewart likes my pottery. I don't care so much what anyone else thinks about it.
29. What living person do you most admire?
My stepmother Pauline because of her tremendous strength, loyalty, humour, compassion and support for the arts and for me.
Also, David Blackwood would be up there. He's an etcher who lives in Port Hope. He came with me when we started the art-school program in Italy. He's the only Canadian who's been asked for his self-portrait by the Uffizi–the only Canadian ever. The Uffizi, since 1560, has had a committee and they ask people for their self-portraits and he's an incredible artist. I admire his work in an unqualified way.