Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Introduction

I'm a writer by profession and a painter for fun. As a writer my work tends to skim along under the radar; only people who read the book page of the Christchurch Press see the reviews I've written, only people who read books and discuss them in groups (in the NZ WEA Book Discussion Scheme) read the notes that I might have provided. Feature articles have appeared here and there over the years, and the occasional short story turns up in magazines. Students I've taught have been at least partly responsible for the manual that eventually arose out of the courses they attended, and many others have bought the book and followed the hints and ideas they found between its covers. I'm not, therefore, a high-profile writer of blockbuster novels but rather a bread-and-butter writer who can sometimes add jam to her toast.

Painting is something else. Sunday painters are timorous creatures, unsure of their talent, usually untrained and easily squashed. People surge back and forth in front of their pictures trying to find something to say, because they too are unsure. They are also possibly afraid that if they enthuse too much they might get given the picture, because hobby painters no longer have enough room in their houses to hang any more. Amateur painters seek the approval of amateur critics (because they are the only ones they know) so they tend to paint pictures that their friends approve of - topographically accurate landscapes (chocolate-box pretties), apples and pears that look like apples and pears, and portraits that as someone once said always have something wrong with the mouth. Bad mistake. Even if it is true that, as Edward de Bono once said, unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations, it is better to paint pictures that you approve of and take the consequences. A friend once described an exhibition of modern art as being full of pictures that looked as though they had been at the bottom of a bird cage. Praise like that has so far eluded me, but I have hopes. I am having my first exhibition in March 2010 at the Christchurch Arts Centre and hope to hang several quite bold pictures as well as a few more conventional ones. Here's a sample - it's called White Water.

No comments:

Post a Comment