Mellicent, 1959


Mellicent (née Wauters) is my American cousin

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Photo by Jacques Wauters (assumed)

The photo is a small snapshot that Mellicent's parents sent to their European relatives probably early in 1960. 'Dec 59' is printed on the border so it appears Mellicent is posting the family Christmas cards in the letter box the roadside outside their house.

I looked at the photo again about ten years ago and showed it to Sandra. I was painting in oil around that time and she said it would make a good picture. So I spent a few months making a painting of it, one of my best – if not THE best – of all the paintings I have ever done. I say it myself but my oil paintings are very good, so rest assured my painting of Mellicent is fabulous. It is David Lynch all over.

Ironically the painting is the reason I gave it up a few years later after the art teachers at Bolton School came to our house to discuss a possible exhibition of my mother's pictures. My painting of Mellicent was leaning against the fireplace and when the discussion was over I invited these 'art teachers' to have a look at this one of mine. So they walked over, glanced at it, then walked back saying "very nice" and put their coats back on to leave. If you have any interest in painting and someone shows you a good one you will lean forward and look at it carefully. You won't just glance at it and say "very nice."

I don't blame these 'art teachers' particularly but there were three of them. So the world is what it is. Art teachers aren't interested in oil painting and if three art teachers aren't, nobody is – except perhaps as wall decoration. A hundred years ago they would have been all over it. The age of painting in oil is over. Of course there are millions of artists painting in oil, some of it very good. But that isn't a reason to waste one's time. Not at my age anyway.

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Page last modified: 13 April, 2024
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