June 2013

- Largo 1. de Maio as 9 de manha -


There is a first time for everything. Even for painting in the village. I definitely wanted to represent the beautiful village square on paper, but I was afraid of the task and, above all, the people that would look over my shoulder. Therefore, I began painting at six-thirty in the morning, the daylight was soon adequate. I had found a nice place to sit and sat there, on the steps of a small cottage. At this early hour there was no-one about, so I could work on my picture undisturbed. At around eight o’clock, the grandfather clock in the house struck the hour. Shortly afterwards the door opened and I budged up so that the old man of the house could step past me to fetch his bread rolls from the bakery. It was then that I slowly moved into the village: five streets led into the square, on all sides there were people making their way from A to B, some buoyant and in a good mood, others still tired and worn-out.

Naturally this picture was not a quick one to paint, exactly the opposite. It took a very long time, many weeks of my holiday. In the course of this time I got to know the villagers‘ rhythms: who went to work when, which car would turn the corner at what time, when which shutters and which window blinds would be opened, when Pinto would step out from his pub and Almerindo, the painter, would step onto his terrace to sniff out the day. How is the weather today? What will the day be like? Shortly after half-eight, Edith swept past with her mop and the floppy-eared dog Max settled down to his first siesta of the day. I painted the houses and the streets, the big, beautiful conifer, the old brook, the small palm tree, the little orange tree. I slowly discovered the details of all the buildings. People now passed me regularly: it was exciting, because the picture was slowly coming together. And then came the moment when I attempted to add figures. First my old friend José sat for me, modelling on the bench. The next day Ignazio from Sardinia sat on the opposite bench. Amusingly he amusedly feigned conversation with José, knowing full well that in the painting he was sat had been on the bench opposite. "Hello José, how’s it going? Enjoyed yourself last night? Slept well? You still look knackered though." We all laughed, it was a very strange situation. At half-nine I packed away my painting things as usual. The sun was blinding, the spot becoming ever more popular. Time for breakfast.

One day my painting was finished! It shows the square and its people. It was through working on this I discovered my love of situational painting. "Can I buy it?" asked Maria, an art lover. "No," I replied and felt like celebrating, "I’m not going to sell my work anymore." There is a first time for everything, and everything has to start somewhere.


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