It’s acrylics today… and I’ve come prepared. Eight stout tubes ready to be squeezed.
One thing you discover on the journey to becoming an artist is how to open the tube. After some time of fruitless endeavours, you realise that hidden underneath that pristine plastic cap is a troublesome silver foil. It’s been put there to reveal the incompetence of novices like me in an art class. But I’m not to be ‘foiled’. I start with the yellow – the colour of madness. My fingers don’t play ball (my disability has seen to that)… this is a job for my teeth. My creatives in the room watch on with chagrin.
The silver foil takes me back to milk bottle tops. Of course, anyone younger than thirty won’t understand this allusion. Remember how the birds always got the cream using their hypodermic beaks. If you came back from a two-week holiday in North Wales and had forgotten to cancel the milk… the milkman had kindly arranged the bottles in chronological order… starting with the festering container of botulism nearest the doorstep. Twenty-four experiments all in varying states of decay. Bring back the milkman. But I digress. I’m supposed to be thinking about higher things.
Peeling the tiny silver foil was more hazardous than I thought. Having pierced it with my canine, I suddenly felt a surge of acrylic paint down my gullet. Is this stuff poisonous? Well it’s all in the name of art. It’s quite an acerbic taste… and metallic. I wonder if the other seven paints will taste the same? Another hazard that I hadn’t anticipated was the tenacity with which the discarded foil tops landed on my lap. Before long, my trousers were looking like a Jackson Pollock. But I digress.
This is my picture for this week – I hope you like it. My eight foot canvas stretched across the floor. To-ing and fro-ing with my daubed wheelchair to create a scene of bulrushes in the fading light. But of course I’m only messing. It’s only one square inch and it’s only an experiment to get ‘close-up and personal’ with my acrylics.
The task for today is to create an acrylic landscape painting in the style of the Fauvist movement. It was led by the likes of Henri Matisse. It’s an extreme development of post-impressionism – my art teacher tells us. Fauvism is characterised by “wild brush work and strident colors, while the subject matter as a high degree of simplification and abstraction”. Well I can do the simplification… or is it just simple?
Gaugin once said to his mate “How do you see these trees? They are yellow. So, put in yellow; this shadow, rather blue, paint it with pure ultramarine; these red leaves? Put in vermilion.”
So, Fauvism is about using the wrong colours? I can go with that. No more careful matching of hues. To be honest, it didn’t go too well today. My painting lacked that artistic edge and I didn’t give it a chance to dry. I was more than happy to fold over my creation knowing that it would forever be entombed between the two pages. But I learnt about Fauvism and I learnt about the taste of acrylic paint. Below is a painting by someone who knew a thing or two about painting.