As regular visitors to my blog may have noticed. I’m a very family orientated person, and love sharing news about them. I only have one sibling, and even though our personalities are very different, my sister and I are the best of friends. Yvonne has always been somewhat of an extrovert, and I remember her at a very young age, ‘playing the drums’ on our metal dustbin lid. Not a great hit with the neighbours, so her aspirations as a rock drummer died an early death. I was sent for piano lessons, whilst she had singing lessons, and soon she was winning first prize in all the local music festivals. I remember the two of us entering a talent competition at the beachfront, during one summer holiday. She won first prize with a stunning rendition of the very moving religious Victorian ballad,’The Holy City’. Following that, in stark and comical contrast, the two of us had the audience in stitches, as we sang and enacted that old song, “There’s A Hole In My Bucket.” She was Henry and I was Liza, and we made some good pocket money out of that particular episode. She went on to study singing at college, and became an opera singer with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in London, supplementing her income with a bit of modelling and acting in her spare time. On the wall of her art studio, is a framed newspaper clipping from the 1970’s, when in a moment of zany madness, she posed for a well-known British tabloid, and earned herself the dubious reputation of being the D’Oyly Carte’s one and only ‘Page Three Girl’.
Our dad only found out about this because one of his colleagues brought it to work to show him. He was not amused, or so he said. 🙂 Freddy Lloyd O.B.E.,the General Manager of the D’Oyly Carte at the time, summoned Yvonne to his office, and she was sure that he was going to give her notice for bringing the opera company into disrepute, but fortunately for her, he had a great sense of humour, and suggested, tongue in cheek, that they might find a way of interpolating her scanty outfit into the last night of the London season. Sadly, the idea was dropped, but I’m sure she’d have been a hit with the opera goers.
About eight years ago, she and her friend decided to go for art lessons, just for something to do, and her art teacher has really brought out the artistic talent which had lain dormant within her, for more than fifty years. Now, she spends much of her time, happily painting a variety of subjects. She loves the African bush and enjoys painting the animals found there, especially leopards.
She also has a great talent for painting portraits of Southern African people.
She was commissioned to paint the late Nelson Mandela, and this painting now hangs in a South African museum dedicated to his memory.
After my sister had been painting for a while, she did some research into our family history, and discovered that our great, great uncle was non other than Jan Toorop, the first Dutch Symbolist Impressionist and Art Nouveau Painter, which might explain why she has such artistic talent. Some of you may remember my post about her paintings being exhibited in Moscow last year. Who would ever have imagined that something like this could happen at this stage in her life? If she hadn’t taken that first step, she’d still be thinking that she couldn’t paint or draw anything other than matchstick men. I wonder how many of us have hidden talents which will never be used. It’s certainly food for thought, isn’t it?
Yvonne has just started a blog on WordPress, and if you would like to see portraits which she has done of her family, including one our late father, just click here. Tell her I sent you; I know she’ll be delighted to meet you.