Today I’m working in the style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Apparently, it’s not called copying. It’s more about picking up his palette, his mood and his peculiarities. Teacher shows us one of his watercolours… it’s a well-crafted scene of a sleepy town in an Adriatic clime. Lots of terracotta tiled roofs and shutters merging over the hilltop. He wasn’t too worried about perspective and his choice of colours was… shall we say… on the pale side.
So now I’m going to start my copying… I mean re-enacting… or whatever they call it! I really want to be Rennie Mackintosh for the day. I saw his picture – a rakish moustache and a Victorian style Ascot cravat. That’s what I call suave.
Anyway, I digress, let’s focus on the task in hand. One window done – another thousand to do. I have to start on lighter colours… the serried rows of sunbathed townhouses. They all seem white, but subtly different tones of white. That’s what Rennie would have liked… a man of understatement… someone that didn’t like ostentation.
I still don’t have any white paint? Teacher demonstrates to me… it seems that nothing is really white. Those shopfronts are just a profusion of almost imperceptibly varied hues. Just like my teeth I guess. If I just imagine that I’m at the dentist choosing from her colour chart – reddish-brown, reddish yellow, grey, reddish grey. Yes, I think old Charlie boy had been using a dental colour chart when he painted this scene. Or maybe he had been dragged around B&Q (did they have superstores in the Victorian era?)… having to choose amongst the 5000 variations of white for the guest bedroom.
I’ll tell you another secret. Watercolour is not about painting… it’s about putting on water, dirty water. A hint of rose or a suggestion of teal. But nevertheless, it’s just dirty water. Still nine hundred windows to go and I’m feeling done for. Time for the hairdryer treatment.