Inspiration must be taken wherever you find it and last weekend I found mountains of it at the David Hockney exhibition in London.
I love a good day trip – providing someone else has organised it and I don’t have to think too much – and was delighted when my mother asked me if I’d accompany her to the big city for a culture vulture session.
It’s a long time since I’ve done some proper painting. The past 12 years have pretty much involved the children whenever I’ve got out my paints. The glitter lives in the same drawer, so that has come out too.
I fondly remember the days when I painted without a plastic tablecloth or 16 sheets of newspaper and then didn’t have to wash down the chairs or various assorted body parts afterwards.
I actually sold a picture once – and not to a friend or family member. I put it into a local exhibition for the princely sum of £47.23 (I’d priced it ridiculously because it made me laugh, never thinking that someone would actually write a cheque for that amount) and a stranger bought it.
I’ve never put another one up for sale because if nobody wanted it I’d be gutted. My moment of success would be sullied.
Hockney’s paintings don’t sell for £47.23 His massive works go for £2m or so.
But, looking up close at those intense colours at the Royal Academy, I realised that the master painter’s work is not that dissimilar to any of my kids’ earlier efforts. Big, bold and not giving a damn.
Hockney’s style is uninhibited and I wish my children had been there to see it – and all children for that matter.
Because at some point between the age of three and 10, children lose the ability to see colour and paint for what it is – colour and paint.
They start to look for the realism to come to life on the paper and then they give up if they can’t paint a familiar face, or a perfect sea, or the sun’s rays.
They end up becoming their own worst critics. As they try to turn out photo quality work, they are never going to win.
Inhibition starts to take a grip and it gets tighter and tighter.
Hockney can show everyone that it’s not about being perfect, it’s about the bigger picture and taking that all-important step back.