I love to collect small paintings, framed or unframed I don't mind that much. A casual display of mismatched pictures on canvas, board or even card just makes me happy.
The reason behind the huge charm of the old paintings is that they speak to us of another time when knowing how to paint was a normal part of a good education and when they took time to sit down and observe.
In the French school system there is little time given to nurturing a child's creativity, and even the students who specialise in an artistic discipline are no longer taught how to draw, the curriculum prefers to give them a good grounding in draughtsmen's software than charcoal and paints. The result is that students who choose to study art or architecture at university, have to spend their first year going back to basics and learning how to ... observe.
Because surely that is what art is all about, be it drawing, painting or even writing : the ability to observe and interpret what we see.
Can you tell that I have a bee in my bonnet?!
Last week I was fortunate enough to buy several paintings from the French lady I told you about. I kept this one painted on card, almost certainly by an amateur who just took pleasure in walking out with a box of paints and a folding stool until he found a view that appealed and sat down to paint. He painted this pretty scene of a country lane, and then ....
flipped the card over and painted some trees beside a lake! How could I possibly frame this one, I'd never be able to choose which side I like best!!
So because I know that this is a dying art, and that my children's generation favour a screen to an easel, I shall continue buying these pieces of amateur art whenever I have the opportunity.
Just yesterday I bought this little painting at our local auction house. Not quite so amateur, since the painters name is known and displayed on the frame, but it still has its charm. He took the time to sit down and paint an ordinary house, to observe, to transmit. You can see more about the painting here.
How about you? What is your favourite object that reminds you to slow down and take the time to observe?