October 19, 2008
My First Painting.
Now that I have disclosed the fact that I create oil paintings in my spare time (or at least used to), I thought I would share my art. This is a photograph of a painting that hangs in my living room just above my red sofa.
It is perhaps not my best painting, but it is my first. There are many flaws in it, but bearing in mind I was only 17 years old when I made it, it is not half as bad. The apples are a bit off, but I think I managed to capture the blue velvet cloth perfectly. Considering that I only could paint it once a week and had to find and arrange (or rearrange) all the items every time I did, it could have been worse. I painted this in an evening class that I attended once week, when I was a teenager. I was the youngest there at that time, as no one was below 40 and I felt badly out of place to begin with. The class was held in studio in the attic of an old building, and I recall the exposed beams of the wooden roof and the prevailing smell of turpentine and cigarette smoke. I was surrounded by people that longed to express themselves and did so. The teacher, an artist himself, was excellent. His way of teaching was very indirect, but very effective. He had one rule only; we were not allowed to paint from photographs or pictures, he urged us to paint “live” real things. Only “still life”. The studio was filled with all kind of “stuff”; statues, vases, furniture, flowers, cutlery, old books, clothes, fabrics, jewelry - anything an artist might find inspiring. All except fruit or vegetables, which we had to bring ourselves. His way of teaching was to give us free hands. “Please just paint what you see!”, he used to say while smoking heavily. He would then start walking around between the easels, in the quiet room, the only distant sound would be the music of Edit Piaf or Billy Holiday, streaming from aging records played by an old turntable. As he would pass us, from time to time, he would look at the paintings quietly, correcting or helping out with the mixing of the right colors, pointing out errors, suggesting corrections, showing tricks with a brush, telling us how to see the light and the colors.
I have forgotten about this first “art piece” of mine for years, well decades. I think it was stored forgotten in boxes, moved between several attics and basements, until it at one point got damaged being stored in my parents shed. My father, who enjoys painting himself found it and restored it. He had it framed and my parents gave it to me as a house-warming gift when I bought my first house.