Now last night I just get back from a blinding holiday in a place called Italy. And I wish to say I never see a prettier sight, what with trees and birds and bushes called vines.
In this Italy they are pretty big into churches, cathedrals and suchlike; and where you find churches and cathedrals you can take odds at six to four on that you will also find plenty of pictures. I’m no expert but I reckon they are painted hundreds of years ago to keep the punters awake. You know when the sermon gets a bit boring and they get to thinking I am sure I hear the same thing last week, they might find their eyes wandering over pictures of scenes from the life of Jesus, St. John the Baptist and other famous Italians.
But exercise caution, as wherever you find paintings, you are almost certain to find sculpures too. Sculptures are 3D pictures and are generally the things you trip over as you stand back to admire a picture.
We are staying at the Masaccio Art Centre (Masaccio being a famous artist who invented the camera) which is high up on a hillside near Poggibonsi – or ‘Podgy Beyonce’ as some of our party are apt to call it – Now although I call this a holiday, it is anything but. The general idea being that we (that is to say me and my thirteen colleagues) spend our days painting the Tuscan landscape and all that we find therein. Well this is a tall order in my view. Personally I think instead of paying for the priviledge of tackling such a tricky task, we should be on a decent hourly rate, given all the things we have to do, such as mixing paints and whatnot.
Our teacher is an amiable guy by the name of Gary, who it seems does a fair bit of ‘smudge with the sludge’ in his day. In fact I am in the Art teaching dodge myself for some years, although the last thing I paint is a garden shed and by that I mean a garden shed and not a picture of one.
The trouble really starts when we begin to use oil paint. This infernal stuff takes decades to dry and seems to magic itself onto my shirt, trousers, hair and into my ears. I begin to get a reputation (unjustly in my view ) as a messy worker and a horder of materials and equipment.
‘Where’s the Yellow Ochre?’ ‘Andy’s got it’ ‘Where’s the Alizarin Crimson?’ ‘ Don’t know, but if you look on Andy’s desk…’
Then, horror of horrors. It is announced we have an exhibition to show our work at the end of the course. Now needless to say, my paintings are clearly the work of an idiot who is messing around and not listening when he should be and so appropriate action is taken. To whit, I knock out a few abstracts and even go as far as sticking red ‘sold’ labels on some of them in an attempt to generate some interest.
Unfortunately, at the exhibition private view, the only interest I generate is that of a daffy English doll who lives in the village; or more accurately lives in the bar in the village and who is 102 if she is a day. Cut her and she bleeds Chianti. On top of which she is a Know It All.
But despite this I have a blast and hope the others do too.