We are asked today to `fess up about the last time we broke the law – not just silly little things but big, bad `naughties`.
I didn`t have to think too hard about this one – I know exactly when I last broke the law – it was last Saturday.
As some of you know, I am an artist – I also teach art. Last Saturday I went to someone`s house as a Christmas present! The woman`s husband had `bought` me to spend a day with his wife teaching her watercolour painting.
I knew she had dabbled a bit and she had also told me over the telephone that both she and her husband had spent a couple of hours with an artist having tuition when they were on holiday last year.
When I arrived I was taken to a very pleasant conservatory already laid out with a large trestle table and chairs. So out came my paints, brushes, paper and other bits and essential bobs I carry with me. To begin I demonstrated a very simple landscape to give her the idea of laying a wash of colour (sky), small cottage in mid-distance and sloping hills and fields. All was well until I went for the green on my palette and she appeared shocked `Bur the artist I went to last year said I should never use a ready-made green`. I explained that there were a few ready made greens that I did use but that I always mixed them with another colour before applying them to the paper. I then began to tell her that I was going to put another wash of blue over the green hills in the background to make them look further away. She interposed again – `But the artist I went to on holiday said you should never put more than one coat of paint on the paper`. Oh dear. I explained I very often mixed colour on the paper and, indeed, when painting my large flowers very often applied 10 or more coats of paint – one over the other in order to obtain the intensity of colour I was seeking . I then explained the importance of using transparent colours and of not mixing too many pigments when mixing colours.
She listened attentively to what I had to say and watched as I worked. She was then going on to repeat the exercise for herself with my help and supervision and she produced a very pleasant painting.
I don`t like to criticise any fellow artists` method of working or choice of materials – one other canard is that black should never be used and some artists shudder visibly at the very mention of Payne`s Grey. There are very many so-called `rules` in art but in my view the only rules are those that are meant to be broken.