Thursday, 28 December 2006

A Night Mare

Art Studio, Thursday 28 December 2006

I mentioned the other day (december 2006, A Waterproof Dog) that I spent Christmas trying to catch a wild black spanish horse under a blue sky... It was hard work, the Black Beauty rebelled more than once, but I finally succeeded in restraining him in a 70 x 100 cm big timespace cell...
Allow me to go back to the beginning of this adventure. It was in the Street Gallery, a fortnight ago. A spanish car stopped in the middle of the street and the driver opened his window. He looked at my bullfight paintings for a while, then shouted to me:
„Do you have horses?“
He looked quite disappointed. My brain went into overdrive, thinking, well, I haven´t got any, but I could paint some for him... I had already painted horses on commission, and the people always loved them.
„Well, I could get some, I´m good at it!“
„What do you say?“
In the meantime all the traffic was backed up behind him and the drivers had started beeping impatiently. I repeated my answer, but the cacophony was so loud, that he couldn´t hear anything.
„Wait, I´ll park the car and come over....“
He came to tell me that he had a poster, and already tried to commission a painting from another painter, but somehow, the painter let him down after some weeks. He said I seemed to have such a talent for the representation of animals and he would love me to paint the horse from the poster. We discussed about the technique, size, price and delivery time.
He said he would come back before nightfall.
I didn´t really believe it. It happens quite often that people spontaneously want to buy or order a painting, but then at home they think about it twice and I never see them again! Well, normally it is the women who think about it twice, the men are generally much more ready to spend their money on these crazy things! Anyway, I was not too excited to get this commissison. I normally paint only horses with people, but that one, he said, was wild and lonely...

But THAT man came back with his horse.

„Oh God!“
I thought as I saw the poster. Without doubt it was a wonderful horse, a perfect horse... too perfect perhaps, everything being too perfect there, the horse, the blue sky, the blue sea... I instantaneously imagined a possible way to transform this perfection into romantic art, using only sepia and white pastel. I tried carefully to lead the client –oh god, I just wanted to write „the patient“!- to this view, but no, he wanted the painting exactly like the poster. And as big as possible, 100 cm wide would be perfect. At least I convinced him to let me do the painting in gouache, as I thought that oil or acrylics would increase the kitsch touch.
He wanted the painting for Christmas, but I had got a portrait commissioned for Christmas on the same day (see „Ho Ho Ho Christmas“)and promised him to finish it for the wednesday after.

And so it transpired that after finishing the Chrsitmas Baby I started the Black Horse on Christmas Eve. I must confess that I felt some panic about that horse in the days before. I had no idea if I could somehow avoid the kitsch and was quite sure, I couldn´t!
I painted the horse, I painted the blue sea, the blue sky...but I could not resist in the end to make the sky less blue and put some wild brushes around the horse to invoke the movement...
It is not for me to say if I succeeded in avoiding th kitsch trap: but here it is!

The client called me yesterday morning.
„You told me I should call today...“
I noticed a certain mistrust, I guess he was not sure at all, after this last experience with the other untrustworthy painter, that I would have really done it.
„The horse is waiting for you!“
„Oh, fine! He hasn´t galloped away?“
„Well... I must say, that he looks as if he could run away at any minute... you´d better come quickly!“
The client laughed and said, he would be there in 10 minutes.
Unfortunately I didn´t see his first reaction to the painting as I was busy on the phone. But his words of praise left me in no doubt about his feelings.
„It is impossible in this area to find a painter who can paint horses... of course, some paint horses, somehow, but they are not able to catch the character of the special horse... you, on the other hand, succeeded in capturing exactly the character of this pure bred spanish horse!“
He told me a lot about this spanish horse, and I must say that I wonder how I did it, as I never saw such a horse before! I must have felt his character, somehow, in the attitude, in the muscles, in the facial expression...
Anyway, my client was totally happy! And please, believe me:

PS: I would like to show you how I would have liked to paint this horse and let your taste decide which one is the better one. And when you order a painting from me next time, don´t forget that colours are not always an enrichment to art...

No comments: