Girl: Oh gosh, I think that’s wonderful.
MP: Well, thank you.
Man: Crawl underneath… I’m going home.
MP: You’re going home now.
[Two women say goodbye]
MP: Bye dear.
Woman: Bye Anne!
MP: I’ve always loved this place. My father first brought me out to Victoria when I was five years old. And though I’ve spend many years away, I live here now with my husband Nicky and our daughter Tessa. I’m a painter.
MP: I’ve never met Katharine Hepburn, but I did the portrait from sketches that I made when I watched her on a interview on TV, and I’m so glad that she liked the painting.
KH: And it’s really great! I just can’t imagine that anyone could do that. It seems like the real essence of whatever I seem to be. It’s so good and I’m really thrilled. You’re so lucky to be able to do that… wonderful thing about painting I think is that it’s you, your work, your paint, your soul and there’s no confusion. Not like mine, which is dependent on so many other elements. My I envy you, you really are top notch, I say. And I just hope that I look the way that you made me.
MP: Oh that is so wonderful to hear.
MP: I have eyes that I’m very grateful for, really. Um, I never knew I was shortsighted. I mean I’m really as blind as a bat. I take my glasses off when I’m drawing. Now, it depends on what kind of drawing. Often if I’m doing someone, I will take my glasses off and I have my charcoal, or my, not a pencil, but a charcoal, I love charcoal, it’s very responsive for me, and I stick it at the end of a long stick. I get as far away from the paper –just so the end of it will touch the paper– and I only hear and feel the point of the charcoal touching the paper, but I do not see what I’ve done. And by looking at these subjects, the blur, but there are intensities in the blur; there are deeper bits, and there’s something, and I go on scratching, and I really don’t see anything on the paper, until it becomes a little bit more concentrated. And I find I come closer to something naturally. If I put my glasses on I go and see eyelashes right there, and I don’t want them. Something pulls out from the paper, I can pull it out more if I don’t see it.
MP: The thing I love about the landscape is the fact that it has no edges; it’s limitless. And I’m unable to, I don’t even want to try to, to put it onto a canvas that has edges. How could I capture something that has no ending to it? If it’s a drawing it’s a drawing, and if it’s a painting I’d rather take the canvas, and just wham into the canvas and what comes comes. But at least it’s fresh and it’s first and it’s there. But a drawing… to do a drawing first in preparation, it becomes a studied thing. It then doesn’t become a natural form of expression; it then becomes something that I’ve thought about. I never flattered anybody; that I couldn’t do. Even, even in the very beginning I mean, I used to be very careful, I’d get a chair, and I’d mark the chair, and I’d have them sit and everything. Now I don’t like that very much. I find I do most of my looking when they’re not sitting, when they’re off guard totally. I can almost feel the turn of say, someone’s mouth, and the thought that prompts the slight move that makes that center line either quiver or not quiver. It’s imperceptible almost, it’s a feeling not a visual thing, no one would see what I’m looking at. But I can feel it happen, and I can feel that thought, and if my feeling can come through, my hand feels it, and I am aware if my hand has done, what is the feeling that the other person is feeling is, my what a laugh. That is a…well…I’ve never tried to, to put that into words anyways, but I do know what I mean here.
MP: Well often I wish I had ten hands, and six canvases, and could just sort of, the way you can speed up things in films, and just have zoom, zoom, zoom, and have it all in 20 different positions. That’s difficult sometimes. What I need is to have someone to hit me on the head with a hammer and say stop, I never seem to be able to do that to myself. The paintings that I enjoy doing the most, are those that I can feel the way I feel about doing a self-portrait. Then everything gets sandwiched together. I mean, what I am and what the person is, and the painting, and everything. They all, they uh, overlap.
MP: I do self-portraits when I run out of other people. But I have done a few, not just as fill-ins. Because all of a sudden, I felt that I was all tied up inside. Or lonely maybe. I guess that I’ve painted not so much what I’ve felt but what I didn’t want to feel. I wanted to paint the loneliness away. And it worked.
MP: How are you? Now he even kisses me!
MB: What, what number of kisses?
MP: Take one, take two. [laughter]
MP: And that one is?
MB: Yeah, that’s Myfanwy behind.
MP: … and that one too?
MB: Yeah. She surrounded her own self, she said.
MP: Yes [laughter]
MB: We’ll say it’s a puppet because its legs are kind of short
MP: Yes, I see.
MB: You know, a marionette or something.
MP: I’m very fond of Max, and he has been, he’s been very encouraging for me. He says he paints what he sees; I don’t think he even thinks about it very much. He just paints. Perhaps I, I don’t think about it very much either. I paint what I feel but it comes out more like what I see than Max’s paintings. When he paints what he sees and it comes out like he feels.
MP: Collages gave me a break away from my usual way of looking. I got really intrigued, and from the tissue papers I found it was fun to try other papers and to see how much of the person I could bring out with using a totally different substance. And I spent a year doing those, and that was a lot of fun; hard work, but it was also a searching time and I learnt a lot. I like best, I think, the sort of tearing of the paper. I think that got rid of something… I enjoyed just the actual physical act of tearing a paper and ripping it in pieces. It was such a different kind of reaction from the painting.
MP: That has a torn corner but it’s come together alright. It nearly drives you nuts.
MP: We’ve known Yehudi Menuhin and his sister Hephzibah for eight years, and their visits to us are always very special days. It’s so beautiful. I’m always happy when I have somebody who plays a piano in here. That is one thing that I’ve been very fortunate in that way: I’ve had quite a few musicians. I feel a little bit of something that they give rubs off on the studio walls that stays here.
Man: There is a deep humanity about Myfanwy’s art which never fails to move me. Her drawings, paintings, and collage speak of a person whose art and whose heart are inseparable, one and the same.
Interviewer: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Ask Helender. We have a native Victoria painter with us this evening, a guest who is very well known not just in Victoria, but throughout Canada and in the United States, Miss Myfanwy Pavelic. Her show is, at the moment, the piece de resistance, at the Victoria art gallery. How, how do you decide who you do, because they really are more than human and…
MP: I decide… I mean there are people that I am interested in doing, and naturally people that I know, and people that I have…friends of mine and I enjoy doing them when I see something that is something that interests me to catch what I see.
Interviewer: We have, perhaps you’ve noticed, the camera is looking at two large portraits that you have done now in this medium of collage. For instance, now we’re looking at the charming one of Nicky…
MP: That’s right.
Interviewer: Coming in. Nicky is, in private life, Myfanwy’s other half, her husband who certainly supports and I think inspires a great deal…
MP: Very, very much so, he’s the most marvelous supporter, he’s very happy for me to be working, and always encourages me enormously.
Interviewer: So he has just come in from Gulf you were saying?
MP: No, down from the boat.
Interviewer: From the boat.
MP: Yes. And he’d been sunning on the boat and he took his shoes off and came into the studio and he was carrying these wet sneakers, that he…
Man: The detail she gets, using that material, I think is really unique. No one else does that. It’s not one brush stroke or pencil stroke, it’s all done with tissue paper.
MP: I’m totally open to criticizing, and knowing about my own work. Except for those fractions of seconds where what I’ve put down is what I’ve felt. And then I wouldn’t care who says what. I like that Wanda, and that’s so rare.
Man: I like this one and the last Yuhedi one, he looks really sharp. As soon as I came in here, it just caught my eye right away.
Second Man: That is more imagination than any specific drawing. You have to imagine what actually that is.
Girl: Some, some of them you have to sort of look for the meaning in, like some of these ones over here, the pictures of the men. These ones, you sorta, I don’t know how you could say it, but you have to look at them very closely to see how she’s done her work. It’s really different, I’ve never seen it before.
Third Man: Imagination, creativity, it’s fantastic the way they thought of those notes in his face, and the graph paper in that guy’s, the engineer’s face, and his suit. I just think that’s fantastic.
Fourth Man: It doesn’t matter about the man in the picture, it’s very well done and everything, but you can just imagine yourself on the end, it just leaves you on a big heavy mind game that you can go on. Some of them, your mind can just wander forever.
MP: There comes a time where I must get away from everything I’ve done and thought before. A time to be quiet, or maybe to let loose. And then I need to search, to think about the next work, which for me is just another beginning.
MP: And that one over there… I could tell that you know every one of them by heart. I’ve drawn them all.
MP: If I could ever do a painting, from beginning to end that had this something that I’m talking about, that had that sort of, oh, like on wings, that comes from the inside. Well then I’d have done a painting. And then it does happen, and it’s the fact that it can happen and that I’ve felt it happen. And that’s a glorious feeling. Because one doesn’t feel responsible for it, it’s something that comes in and sort of takes over and there you are and just for that little bit, you can’t do anything wrong. It just floats.