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Thea Proctor

In their own words

Recorded 1961

Thea Proctor
Audio: 2 minutes

I think it is an overwhelming love of beauty which causes anyone to become an artist, an extra sensitiveness to line and colour, as musicians are sensitive to sounds. In artists and sculptors, it is called an aesthetic sense.

I myself have always seen line and form first.

Sometimes I paint from sketches and sometimes, directly. I arrange a still life, but often I think over it first and do compositions in pencil. And when I do a figure composition, of course, I do quite a lot of drawings, putting the figures together to make a good design.

I suppose, really the most stimulating thing I have found in working is doing quick sketches from a nude figure. That I find quite thrilling, quarter of an hour poses; there’s something that forces you to concentrate, and I think you do your best work, it’s more alive and you express yourself, I think. You’re not conscious of anything but trying to get a shape down in simple lines.

I think the thing that makes me want to paint now is a harmony of colour. I see an exciting combination of colours and then I want to add to them and make a good design and balance the colours and try to do a watercolour that looks fresh and effortless.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Thea Proctor is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Related people

Thea Proctor

Related information

Portrait of Thea Proctor, 1905 by George Lambert
Portrait of Thea Proctor, 1905 by George Lambert
Portrait of Thea Proctor, 1905 by George Lambert
Portrait of Thea Proctor, 1905 by George Lambert

The real Thea

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2015

Long after the portraitist became indifferent to her, and died, a beguiling portrait hung over its subject.

The rose, 1927
The rose, 1927
The rose, 1927
The rose, 1927

The world of Thea Proctor

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

The world of Thea Proctor was the National Portrait Gallery's second exhibition to follow the life of a single person, following Rarely Everage: The lives of Barry Humphries.

Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait

Modern Australian Women

Magazine article by Gillian Raymond, 2005

Close contemporaries, Thea Proctor, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith were frequently sources of inspiration and irritation to each other. 

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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