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Paul Banning - Our Erstwhile President
Visit him at www.paulbanning.com. See write-ups of his recent demonstrations to the Society
We were very pleased to learn that on 29 March 2011, at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Private View, Paul Banning was awarded the Turner Medal for an outstanding group of paintings, together with "a substantial cheque". He says he was overwhelmed at the honour of receiving this prestigious ward. We congratulate him.

The Turner Watercolour Award is a bronze medal facsimile of the gold medal originally presented biannually at the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition and was originally sponsored by Turner himself. Today's award is given by the Turner bequest and divided equally between the RWS and the RI and judged by the President and Vice President of each Society together with the great great great grand niece of Turner.

Paul continued painting until his death on 4 May 2021.
Sue Smith, our Chairman , wrote this note (click) for the newsletter.
A story of Paul's life, below the photo, was written for us by his wife, Margaret, who, sadly, had died in January2018.

Paul at the Mall Galleries during 2010 Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition
"Just a few words about our president", your Chairman said, so here goes :

Born in Trinidad in 1934, at school in Bristol where his academic success was limited due to the fact that he had no interest in maths, latin, physics etc etc, Paul excelled in Art, gaining almost 100% for his knowledge of the architecture of English churches. Whilst not renowned for scholarly excellence, he was held in some regard for his determination on the sports field, no matter what the sport. Four years at the Art School in Bristol studying furniture and interior design, together with some painting and lectures on art, proved an invaluable asset in later life.

After Art School came the great School of Life, known as National Service (amongst other things!). Paul spent most of his two years learning the value of discipline and fondly recalls his time in Aden, and then his short but interesting time as a commissioned officer. At the end of those two years one might have expected he would have been ready for a bit of enjoyment and relaxation but remember this was late 1950s and there was no enjoyment or relaxation then. So instead he got married, moved to London, worked as a furniture designer and started a family of four, but still found time to go skiing* 2 or 3 times a year and play cricket most summer weekends.

*Does anyone want 3 pairs of 14-year old skis?

Thirteen years later the small terraced house was bursting at the seams; a move had to be made and was made in 1972, following exploration of the area around Fleet - necessary for easy access to Waterloo where he was now working for the Greater London Council. Happy days, with refurbishment of many South Bank buildings such as the Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Hayward Gallery, and he even had to design a special chair for the Queen when she attended concerts at the RFH, to accommodate her long full skirts. Little did we all know then how Mrs Thatcher and Mr Livingstone were going to alter so many lives by abolishing the GLC.

With redundancy came some spare time. Not much, because by cruel coincidence at this time one son suffered a severe head injury and after a lengthy spell in hospital was recuperating at home, with Paul as carer. But enough time to paint a little, then a little more, and gradually painting took over. What a wonderful opportunity for this talented middle-aged man to develop his potential. He took over running the village art group, then running a large weekly art class in Fleet, then taking groups of friends/painters to France for wonderful painting holidays, then going on more courses, making new friends, applying for membership to London societies, facing disappointment and rejection, and sometimes knowing the joy of success. The more he learns, the more he finds there is to learn. There is no room for jealousy or complacency but always room for improvement, and this is how he enjoys his life.

Margaret Banning, April 2009
Visit him at www.paulbanning.com. See write-up of his recent demonstrations to the Society

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