On Saturday, I spent a glorious, informative, lively day in the company of two people who, although jointly and separately streaking onwards, at the top of their game, were self effacing, open and happy to share their knowledge and information.
Nigel Dunnet and Sarah Price, the rightly crowned king and queen of the Olympic Park 2012 gardens and meadows in Stratford, London, shared with us the highs and lows of their years of work involved with this huge landscape project. We were a reasonably small crowd at West Dean College, but even so, you could have heard a pin drop when they were talking. I was struck by not only their knowledge base, but by their evidently flowing and complimentary way of working together.
Sarah, trained in Fine Art, had changed to landscape design some years before. Being an artist, I feel confident in making the observation that she appeared to be a Right Brained person. Her creativity and flow were, I felt, her strength and driver, coupled with, of course, a large knowledge base. Nigel, on the other hand, is a professor, highy trained, whose background is clearly scientifically based. He produced wonderfully detailed spread sheets and planting charts. Of course, he is also hugely gifted in the creative department. Sarah showed slides of her beautifully drawn planting and design plans. Watching the working and presentational relationship between them was pure joy, and by watching them I felt I learned significant chunks of information, not only about their methods of working, or of how to present creative ideas to clients, but also how to begin and to manage such a huge project like this. It was an enriching experience.
How very different this was to the "lecture" I attended on Sunday evening at The Festival Theatre Chichester. Here, at the 4th Chichester Art Lecture, Sex, Psychology and Art, which was billed as a sort of "Freud Collection" (my words) we sat and listened to, first, one of Lucien's models, talk about his experience of sitting for the artist, followed by a lecturer from the Sheffield Hallam Uni about her travelogue of Sigmund's holiday in Hotel Du Lac....
Listening to both of these obviously respected and clever people, I learned absolutely nothing about either the grandfather or the grandson. I did hear about dinners and jazz evenings enjoyed with the latter and of how the labelling of a holiday project using the former's name, enabled the second speaker to have her work deemed as tax deductable. I learned nothing new about either man, about their personalities or their work.
Both speakers delivered confidently and smoothly, but, even so, I felt I had been short changed. (I left at half time, from boredom, and so I am unable to comment about Frued's sculptor daughter,). Watching the audience shuffle and look around the theatre at intervals, left me with the feeling that I was not alone in wondering what on earth this "lecture" was all about. If anyone who was there can help to enlighten me, I would be most grateful. I remain baffled, however, about how an evening where the subjects were two of the most colourful men in such a dynasty, could be so trite and dull and confusing and patronsing and lacking in any real information.
What a difference a day makes!