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Sidney Nolan

​What do you do about the artist Sidney Nolan?
Was he a carpenter? Artist? Biologist? Astronaut? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m sure you probably already guessed it by now that he was an artist since of the obvious theme of this website!
Here’s a little backstory on this amazing Australian artist:
Born: April 22, 1917 in Melbourne, Australia
Died: November 27, 1992 in London, England
Husband to Mary Nolan and Father to Jinx Nolan
If any of you are thinking that you’re too old to start something new, just remember that it’s never too late and you are never too old to start anything new (in this case, painting). Nolan turned to painting when he was 21 years old. I understand that is still a very young age, but I have noticed that when people don’t start something at, let’s say, 18 or 19 years old, they would just forget and just move on to something else. They might just resent and make everything miserable later on. I also understand that is not the case for everybody, it’s just a pattern I often see. So, back to Nolan, he initially tried to be a racing cyclist, cook, and gold miner. Those are so far away from painting! A man with many skills, right? Well, here’s another skill that you may not have known about Sidney Nolan. He designed sets and costumes for Serge Lifar’s production Icarus in 1940. Very cool!
He also served in the Australian army for three years in the 1940s. But, I guess his artistic abilities couldn’t stay away during that period. He got the inspiration to paint desert landscapes during the time. Gotta love when inspiration knocks, right?  A true artist would understand that feeling. He was actually knighted in 1981 and became a Order of Merit member in 1983, just nine years before his passing.
As you can see, he is an Australian artist who is mostly known for his paintings based on Australian forklore. When I first look at his paintings, I instantly think about his 1971 peice called “Ned Kelly” to be associated with the video game Zelda. The painting is shown below. I remember the beginning of the game when your character rides the horse (Piona I think) through the field. Every. Single. Time. Perhaps the Zelda creators thought about Nolan when they were creating the game. Maybe not. It was such a broad category afterall. Man and horse in field. It sounds like anything else. It’s still something to think about though. I wouldn’t know; I don’t pay too much attention to video games. Ha! The painting is a beauty though

Have you ever heard of Ned Kelly? The Australian bushranger who was executed due to the convictions of murder, assault, theft, and armed robbery. I’ve heard of the movie, but I never actually seen it. Yes, I do have a point to why I also brought up Ned Kelly. Well, as you once read before, Sidney Nolan was inspired by him in a painting. Actually, through a number of paintings. I later found out that there are many artists who got inspired by this notorious man. Perhaps it’s the mystery Kelly brought to everything. I guess people really are drawn to bad boys. Well, in this case anyway. There’s just something about it. Nolan sure seemed to love learning about legendary events and characters, such as The Trial.
When Nolan moved to England in 1955, he still continued to keep up with his landscape paintings. We’re all glad for that, aren’t we? He even continued to stay and help with theater productions on set designs. Two hobbies? Very impressive. I love that he was able to both. He really enjoyed creating things. It also seems he enjoys helping people out too, since he still continued to design the sets. It takes a lot to that. I’m sure his paintings took up a lot of time and even to spend time with family too.  He loved the thrill to design! I obviously didn’t know him personally, but he would seem like a good guy to me.
What did he use to paint?
There are many tools to use when painting. Nolan’s painting was very unique, so it obviously comes to the thought of what he did use for his classic designs. It seems like he liked using unusual items such as ripolin and polyvinyl acetate. Ripolin is an enamel house paint and polyvinyl acetate is often found in glue if you didn’t know that. Weird, right? I would love to figure out how he came up with those items! Nolan used these items with masonite, glass, canvas, and paper. Wouldn’t you love to see a live version of Nolan creating anything with these items??
Where are his paintings now?
Ah, yes! A question everyone wonders, including myself! Besides the obvious answer of art museums of course, but which ones? There are SO many out there. Here’s a few that may spark your interest:
National Gallery of Australia – Canberra
Art Gallery of Western Australia – Perth
Queensland Art Gallery – Brisbane
Art Gallery of New South Wales – Sydney
National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne
Art Gallery of South Australia – Adelaide
The Australian War Memorial – Canberra
Ballarat Fine Art Gallery
Australian National University – Canberra
Heide Museum of Modern Art – Melborne
Other than Australia:
Tate Gallery – London
The Carnegie Museum of Art – Pittsburgh

There may be other museums that would like to feature Sidney Nolan’s work. So, it won’t damage anything to check out and see if your local museum would have anything to celebrate Nolan. It would be pretty cool.

Let me know how you like Sidney Nolan so far. If you do happen to check out his paintings, let me know what you think about his work. I would love to know your thoughts

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