The charcoal of the pelicans was created by Charles Blackman during a period of extreme satisfaction and happiness, at a time in his life where everything was flowing. The charcoal exhibits a more relaxed style of presentation.
It was a reflection of the times when families migrated to the beach en masse in the ’60s, ’70s and ‘80s, and so in clusters did that great circle of Australian artists born of a golden era. Charles Blackman, Albert Tucker, John Perceval, Sidney Nolan, John Olsen, together with their families and mates like Marcel Marceau, Barry Humphries, and Martin Sharp, would gather at Aspendale south of Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay, there to paint, to swim, to frolic and to fraternise. Many of the nation’s best known artists would join the annual pilgrimage to Aspendale on Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay to socialise and paint. Most of these artists have died, but as Greg Hoy reports, their legacy lingers. In her poem, ‘Summer Remembered’, penned for husband Charles, Barbara Blackman recalls evenings where pelicans swoop, old men wander the shore, fishermen knee deep, backs burnished by the setting sun, rose gold scales on the movement of the waters, small children, and wet dogs run up the beach.
During the 1980’s Charles Blackman produced a series of Charcoals on paper or wood depicting Pelicans in his “On Holidays” series. They are rarely seen on the open market, a smaller charcoal called “Pelican Feeding” was on the market in 2012, but they appear to be few and far between. This “Pelican Group” is a superb presentation of the relaxed Blackmans work. Created for enjoyment and memories of the beach and the iconic pelican was always present during the holiday period.