Archive for September 8th, 2008

No Oil Paintings

“No, but these aren’t pictures,” she smiled, “they’re oil paintings – look!”

Why are there so many East European art students landing on my doorstep trying to sell me paintings? And do they all study a module on painting shimmering white ponies at a clearing in the enchanted wood?

“Sorry, but I have no room in the house for any more. I don’t want to waste your time.” That seems fairly polite.

“Ah, but you wouldn’t be wasting my time! Please – just have a look and tell me what you think! I need to know how I should improve. You don’t have to buy anything.”

Thing is, I do want to to take a look. And I want to say to her, this is dreadful stuff. It seems to lack the required sincerity for decent kitsch. How much time did you spend rendering the individual hairs on the ear of that King Charles? I admire your research in capturing the effect of contemporary breeding practices on the dog’s cranium, but am not sure what you’re trying to express here. And what inspiration do you find in painting a woman holding a baby scene in such gloopy caramel tones? Why don’t you go get a big bag of drugs and go off and enjoy yourself? Isn’t that what art students are supposed to do?

But then I get the feeling from the sunny patter that’s been washing over me for the last five minutes that even that will end in a set of negotiations for a commission: tell me what you like – Ferraris, sunsets, cheeky children reaching for cookie jars- and I’ll paint it for you! You name the style! You won’t be disappointed- swear! You like the Spire? I’ll do the Spire, but like Kandinsky!

“No, sorry, I need to get back to work. But the best of luck anyway. Have you sold many round here?”

“Yes, your neighbour next door bought one, and the one over there did too!”

Sounds awful, but revelations like that make it hard to love your neighbour.

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September 2008