Friday, July 9, 2010

He, buddy, can you soak my head?

I was cleaning the school's entrance with a garden hose, in an oppressive heat that felt like 40° C, and the man took of his hat and bent his head, red-burnt and bald. I hesitated for a moment, wondering whether I would really do him a favour by aiming the powerful jet from my hose on his scalp, and right when I thought I would ask him to close his ears, I noticed. He had asked me to soak his hat, and he had not been bending his head in anticipation: he was looking down into his hat, waiting for me to wet it. So, I aimed my jet at his hat, he thanked me and walked on.

I still wonder what would have happened if I had missed that momentarily clear mind...

Monday, July 5, 2010


A bad memory has its advantages. It helps to forget bad things, to forgive bad people and sometimes it surprises me with good things I had forgotten about. The following sketch falls in the latter category, I did it during my first Christmas break here in Toronto. I called it 'Candle Magic' and still like it. Help me remember I paint this one day.

Quickies with Hawthorne

It is already more than one year ago that I did a series of quick studies in Hawthorne's style. Charles Hawthorne (1873-1930) taught painting as the 'mechanics of putting one spot of colour next to another', an approach which is brilliant in its simplicity. The school's introduction to painting builds upon exactly this foundation, and students spend most of their time scanning and comparing colours. I believe that Hawthorne played it a little rougher than our teacher, and he encouraged his students to do quick studies with the painting knife. I decided to follow his suggestion with one change: I painted digitally in Photoshop.

It is extremely good practice, and I hope to do a few more this summer. And yet, from an applied art perspective there is so much more to learn about painter, and it is itching more and more that I currently do not have a chance to develop more as a painting. I would love to play with brushwork, to study specific oil techniques, like glazing, and to study the old masters. I am afraid one life is too short to do what I want to do.