Last week as the members of the retirement home Art Group were folding up their easels, we were each handed a 70 x 50 centimeter or medium size canvas. This was followed by a short explanation: “We are refurbishing the waiting area outside the administration offices and we would like to hang pictures which have been painted in our own art studio. All the paintings will be the same size on similar canvases.”
“What about the subject?” called someone from the back of the studio.
“Anything you like!” was the answer. “We would like to complete this project in two months. Go paint already!”
Now the difficult question: What should I paint? I have just completed a painting of a hillside village with some nice strong trees in the foreground and I don’t want to do another one like that. In fact, I have had a long run with trees and buildings, I need something different.
Oddly enough, when it comes to choosing a subject one is limited by one’s abilities and then by one’s desires. A portrait is out – I tried that and it’s a tremendous amount of work and the results are not always what the artist (or the subject) wants. Landscapes, the most popular subject, are, well, everyone paints landscapes. Buildings? Maybe, but it means perspectives, setting it all out, details, etc. No, it doesn’t stir me. Flowers? I have never tried them.
How about a nude? A full length reclining nude a la Goya! That’ll cause a stir. I will tread the corridors and lounges and seek out a suitable subject and sweet-talk her (it has to be a her) into stripping and posing. I used to have a wide brush….