Saturday, 16 March 2013

I have booked a Flavours painting holiday. Can I go now please?

Unfortunately I have to wait until September but most days I am reading and researching about painting and today I have spent the last couple of hours exploring paint brushes.

It’s all rather daunting as I am, what can only be described as, a beginner, who paints because he likes it. Being one who also enjoys a challenge I really thought this was the year when I would actually make the effort to learn more about the subject rather than just dabbling, as and when I found a moment.

So while researching paint brushes  I re-read the story about a Spanish woman who made a fateful decision to take it upon herself to restore an ancient century fresco of Christ in her local church.

I must say, looked at her efforts with a mixture of horror and embarrassment but amazement too. On the one hand she has totally transformed the original Ecce Homo by Elias Garcia Martinez into something that can only be described as, well, odd. It has been affectionately christened Ecce Mono (behold the monkey).

But on the other hand the love and devotion apparent in what has been created cannot be dismissed and the childlike, na├»ve style might even be considered ‘interesting’. It has certainly created massive publicity and the poor woman took to her bed as a consequence. Can we begin to imagine what she went through?

I think about my own paintings being held up for derision and blanch at the thought. The irony of the ‘ruined fresco’ is that her village in north eastern Spain, where the fresco resides, is now experiencing a much needed boom in tourism.

In fact there is a wrangle going on between art experts who want to ‘fix’ the painting and those who want it left just how it now is. There is even an online petition to keep the fresco untouched and it has drawn over 20 000 signatures can you believe?

So Cecilia Jimenez of Borja is now a celebrity artist thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

Perhaps Cecilia may have done better if she had sourced the correct paint brush before commencing her restoration, after all the way the brushes are constructed, their length, the way the sable bunches together and its shape will all affect how the paint is transposed onto the surface and the whole things scares me to be frank. Perhaps she might enjoy a Flavours painting holiday too; I wonder if anyone has asked her?

Still, having studied the testimonials on the Flavours site I think I can rest assured the world media is not going to turn up and make a mockery of my attempts at painting the Umbrian landscape.

Basically I am looking to learn as many techniques as I can possibly cram into my 8 days. I was hoping that perhaps with some knowledge I can start to have a little more confidence in what I am trying to achieve; after all you have to know the rules before you break them!

I have to admit that I do panic a little about having chosen watercolour as my medium as everyone is always saying it is much more difficult than oils. I am certainly looking forward to the demonstrations and self-expression can wait until much later; after all, we can see just what that can lead to!

I certainly admire Cecilia for making such a brave effort on a church wall in Spain; my efforts are going to be much smaller and I intend to keep them very much to myself – what a coward! However, I might see you in Umbria this September; I’ll be the chap hiding under a large straw hat beneath a tree.


Check out the Flavours Cooking, Pilates and Painting holidays in Italy available throughout 2013.

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