Mrs Mavis Thompson

Meeting of Wednesday 31 October 2018  “The Life and Work of Mrs Mavis Thompson”

Probian, Albert Allen [left] with Oliver Loughran. Probus Vice-President

Mavis Thompson is a native of Omagh and the elder sister of club member Albert Allen. However, for the past 50 years she has lived and worked in Enniskillen where she enjoys a reputation as a skilled and innovative artist. A member of the Royal Ulster Academy (RUA) since 1986 she told her story to a local television reporter who recorded the interview and produced the DVD. The film was introduced by brother Albert who pointed out that some of the Probians present had been at school with Mavis when she was growing up in Omagh. At that stage in her life her first love was music and she became an accomplished pianist who also enjoyed art. A visit to the Ulster Art Gallery ( now the Ulster Museum) at the age of 13 opened her mind to the wonder of water colours and took her to the 1974 Turner Bi-centenary Exhibition in London, an experienced she recounted as “inspirational”. Encouraged by her mentor Derek Hill she began to enter painting competitions and in 1978 had one of her works selected for display by the RUA. Since then she has pursued her passion for water colours, taking her easel and palate into the Fermanagh Lakeland to capture light-filled landscapes with soft shades and deft strokes. Her reminiscences included the frustrations of sudden squalls of rain, being eaten alive by midges on the lough shore, muddy fields and wellie boots and brief encounters with otters, foxes and cattle. In more recent times she has found inspiration on the coastline of Ulster, beachcombing for drift wood and anything else that fired her imagination. Back in her studio these objects were formed into elaborate three-dimensional works of art, often with a musical theme. A trip to Japan was another creative a spur and a formative influence in the development of her style and technique. The film was much appreciated by members and gave rise to many anecdotes about the Allen family and its connections with Omagh