I had a very pleasant visit to the area of Eton and Windsor over the weekend, staying with two good friends of mine, and on Sunday morning made a visit to the main interest. That castle, the one that overlooks the surrounding countryside so solidly and stands so majestically and beautifully. It’s been a great number of years since I was last at Windsor, or its castle, and thoroughly enjoyed being a tourist for a couple of hours, in the spring sunshine, and wandering around the town. Shops have come and gone, as they do in ensuing years, and my man and I wandered around with no particular plan, down one road here, along a side street, turn left or right as the fancy took us. And then as we passed an expensive looking gallery, he asked me if I wanted to go in? Yes, I’d like that. We walked in, as visitors, nothing to show to anyone that we were any different to any other visitor. We both looked at the art, not together particularly, just looking at the paintings in our own time. The girl who worked there did what gallery staff should do, and made full eye contact, smiled, and asked if there was anything in particular that we liked. I smiled at her, and nodded at a painting infront of me, and said evenly “What happened to her arm?” and she followed my gaze and said equally evenly “That’s how the artist wanted to depict it”. I frowned slightly and asked “Why?” then went on to say what a fabulously painted picture it was, I am an artist and can see how much work has gone into it, I admired the image of the girl sitting in the chair, the setting, the representational painting that was virtually a photograph, but the wrist of the girl was all wrong, infact I had presumed the model was deformed to start with, with an amputation, since the wrist literally looked like it had been cut off just above the hand. Bearing in mind the rest of the picture was astonishingly correct in its depiction, even down to the patterning in the carpet, why indeed had the artist been so negligent in painting her hand and wrist? I know if I were to buy the painting even at the high price that it was, that it would annoy me for ever more, since I’d always be looking at the fault within the painting.
The gallery girl and I chatted, she was friendly, and nice, and easy to talk to. They had some Rolf Harris paintings there too, and I admired two of them, particularly one of a Venetian canal, full of light and colour, veridian and lime green and reds all full of contrast and life. And then I looked at the two tiger paintings that were also his, and couldn’t understand that they were even the same artist. They looked heavy and wooden in comparison. What had gone wrong there? I’m not overly critical of artwork, I know if I like it or not, and can tell if its captured the ambiance or not of the subject, whether a famous artist has painted it or an amateur. But, I do have to wonder, at a big gallery like that one (one of a well known chain) showing work like that. For those prices I’d want something closer to perfection, no matter who has painted it. And certainly if I was a buyer I would too!!!!!
I was pleased though, that as we talked, the gallery girl listened to what I was talking about, about speculative art, and framing, and making your life as an artist, and made the comment “You seem to understand as much about the financial side of art as the art” and I agreed that I needed to. That it is as important as the painting of pictures for me. I am in the business of selling my paintings, so I have to be. And I know that you can’t say what is THE best painting, because anyone would argue with you, as they would prefer their own favourite against yours, because they had seen and picked up on something that you hadn’t. And that is because brains are wired up differently and react in diverse ways to various stimuli.
So perhaps, its a wonder that any artwork makes the connection then, between artist and buyer. I know I am always absolutely delighted when someone says “I love it!” about a painting of mine that they have bought. And know then, that I have got it right. That connection. And that’s what its all about!!!