Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Praia Mole, August 2015; Andrew Marr on Churchill: Blood, Sweat and Oil Paint


Praia Mole, August 2015, oil on card,14 x 22 cm   SOLD

Today was a particularly lovely day at the seaside with a delicate, flickering light.


I enjoyed very much Andrew Marr's BBC programme about Winston Churchill as a painter (Andrew Marr on Churchill: Blood, Sweat and Oil Paint).

 The programme focussed, rightly, I think, on how painting helped Churchill to deal with stress and depression. It conveyed well the sense of escape that Churchill must have gained through concentrating on his craft, patiently working in Morocco or the South of France, and the energy with which he worked,

The art of painting is akin to cooking in that it offers many relatively simple activities, such as mixing colours, which are soothing and sensual. The actual manual skills involved in painting are generally slight, so that persons with disabilities- such as Marr, a stroke victim, can work successfully. Contrast this to writing, where concentration has to be almost absolute, and which is utterly a-sensual; or, playing a musical instrument, where manual skills must be honed through repeated exercises if the artist is not to alienate his audience.

There is often something odd about Churchill's work- particularly with regard to spatial descriptions and his acidic colours. It is curious how highly intelligent people often cannot paint well: despite considerable dedication and the advice of excellent teachers Churchill's pictures are often awkward, and now seem dated. I find them, nonetheless, very enjoyable- they are so self-evidently a product of genuine enthusiasm.


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