Spending time

Sunday February 20, 2005

When, in 1996, I put down my brush after labouring for some hours over today’s picture, I had the good sense to make a pencil note:

“Now I know the true fallacy of the view that any ten year old school kid could paint these.”

It’s easy to look at the work of great abstractionists of the 20th century and take the view that there is no skill, nothing special, no artistry in their paintings and that any idiot with a paintbrush could do the same. Having tried to emulate what they did, I can say with complete confidence: “Go on, then. Try it.”

I’m glad to have found these old art class studies. They remind me of what I did back then, and something of why I did it. I shall not need to repeat much of the work to get painting the way I want to do it now.

I don’t think I want to use my time now in studying the theory. I’ve done that. Alright, I’ve forgotten much of what I learned, forgotten it at least in the sense of being able to recite it as if by rote. I never was good at that. I’ve retained what was important to me then, however, and more than enough for my purposes now. If I’ve earned nothing more from my pensioner status I’m darn sure I’ve earned the right to choose how to spend my time now and in the future.


Art class study: Southern Gardens, after Klee
watercolour on Langford paper



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