28 May 2011

Bored Witless

A little blogette:


May contain offensive asterisks ***

Sometimes a friend will say, as part of a conversational gambit, “Have you met Jennifer? She is a painter.” Sometimes they will add, “She is a very good painter.”

This is a conversational gambit, as I pointed out. This statement does not prove that I am a painter, or a good painter, let alone a very good painter, however, it is said as part of an introduction and to get the conversation going. Which it frequently does, and the response so often is:“Oh really, my mother (daughter, cousin, step-father, dog ) is a painter too. He/she/it is a very, very good painter.” At which stage I get to learn all about them and their hopes and desires, successes, and less often, their failures.

Remember dear people reading this blog, young or old, that one of life’s great secrets is to be a good listener and thus, far too often to be bored witless, occasionally to learn something, and to realise that most people are far more interested in themselves than in you, so it doesn’t matter whether your hair is having a bad hair day (see below), or that you forgot to change into your f**k me shoes for the party. No one will notice, and if they do, does it really matter? Sorry guys, this bit doesn't apply to you...well, perhaps to some of you it does.

This as any discerning reader will notice is so far only loosely about


So to return to the subject: when a painting appears online, one might have the feeling that the work one looks at is “real”, but of course it isn’t. What it lacks amongst other things is scale (everything is limited by the size of the screen,) tactile qualities (because you cannot reach out and touch the work,) shininess, dullness, density, flatness, and much else. In fact the whole gamut of real experience. It is extremely useful if one remembers all of that, in the way that a film at the cinema can carry one away completely and then real life takes over as one heads back out into the street when it’s over.

I was really shocked by one painting teacher whose class I attended.... only once. She issued the class with enlarged, poorly printed images of part of an Old Master painting (not the most competent Old Master either,) taken from a web page on the net, and asked the class to copy it.

What will they have learnt from that experience? Of course they may well have passed an agreeable few hours, which is fine, but why call yourself a teacher of painting and not an “Entertainer”? Whatever was looked at was at fourth or fifth hand, the image had been perverted, all the important choices had already been made, everything was at a considerable remove and the original was far away, still in the Museum.

Another incident which shocked me was to learn that a School “Art Teacher” had taken to making marks on a pupil's work, instead of demonstrating what was meant on a separate piece of paper. I feel this is unforgivable, and a violation. Some people are delighted because they think they can then pass the work off as their own.........usually though the work then lacks integrity.

Am I being over picky? I don’t think so. It is to do with authenticity, with “who owns” the work.

It was great fun rootling around to find an old pair of almost f**k me sandals, which I haven't worn in years, and then “tarting” them up a bit for the drawing. Those poor toes though! Health warning, wearing sandals like those depicted can do serious podological harm. And as for the bad hair......

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