…you’re sure of a big surprise. Bloody artist is down here again!

Second in the Woodland Path Series, and once again painted in acrylic with just the three tools – a 3″ brush, a No4 Signwriting brush, and a sponge. This one, of course, is landscape in format and is bigger at 22.5″ x 16.5″ (57 x 42 cm). It’s painted edge and can hang without but would certainly benefit from a decent frame – alas, I’m afraid I don’t carry the mouldings at the moment. Yours for a monkey – £500 quid to you John! smile You know how to contact me

Y’know, as I finish another painting and put it on the shelf, where it will probably languish until Ruth has a post mortem garage sale one day, it probably isn’t surprising I get just a little angry.

It isn’t the case worldwide but here in the UK painting, as the much vaunted but artistically talentless, if commercially gifted, British artist T.E. told us years ago, is just about finished. Almost all of the galleries have closed, and you don’t need to be a qualified business analyst to figure out why. Those that remain are either, by at large, at the top end where art sells, not for arts sake, but as potential investments (ever a risky business – ask Mr S, one of whose warehouses sadly burnt to the ground) or are High Street purveyors of largely ‘commercial’ art, or are framing shops exploiting a zero cost lucrative sideline (no stock is ever, EVER, bought in).

The rot started, I believe, in the 1990’s with minimalist design, which did not, as is so often quoted by those seeking justification, begin with the Bauhouse Movement in 1930’s Germany, but with a couple of British designers who twigged that a property was easier to sell if it didn’t have the stamp of someone else’s taste all over it. They were quickly proven right.

Unfortunately the concept found a huge following amongst those reluctant to display their personalities, or lack of them, by nailing something to the wall for all to judge. I was told, years before minimalism took off, and by a gallery proprietor, that they sold many more Limited Edition prints than originals – not because of price, as they were largely comparable, but because the buyers reasoned that if many other people had bought one they must be good – they could be hung with confidence. What a dreadful indictment of public taste!

Now as resentful as I am about white walls (both the lack of décor and the picture retailer) I’m not going to knock commercial art per se, I know how, and why, it’s done. I’m not proud of it but I painted, and sold (under a non de plume), several hundred tropical beaches twenty years ago – I was skint – but whilst it was commercially rewarding it was artistically soul destroying. The trouble with commercial art is that the hooks, which all painters use to a degree, in a commercial piece become the painting itself – all hook. It may be highly priced, highly attractive, even desirable, but it’s expiry date is virtually built-in. Will it still be hanging in pride of place in a hundred years? Not a chance my friend.

Maybe that shouldn’t be a consideration. The only reason there should ever be for buying a painting is that you love it – whatever it’s artistic merits, or lack of them. That the painting speaks to you, that it means something to you is of paramount importance. Will your eyes be drawn to it every time you walk in the room or will you quickly become blind to it? If the former buy it, if the latter, leave it in the shop (I shan’t say gallery – you’re unlikely to find one). And don’t, for God’s sake, worry what the neighbours will think – it’s your home, your walls, your painting.

There is a celebrity among my acquaintances, a Mr B, a truly larger than life individual. Every room in his home is covered in pictures – every one of which has meaning to him. To experience it is to look into his soul – a wonderful, if humbling, experience.

Don’t leave your white walls blank – it says more about you than you imagine.

Pip, pip.

SB