Painted Posies


The bright, colourful header that caps off Tetralogia: Four Books To Change the World, these days, was scanned from a daub I did when I was twelve or thirteen. An art class effort, if the memory is still accurate, produced on real paper, as a reward for having made progress with earlier tries on printed newspaper.

To go back a bit: Our art teacher, Sammy S, was really something of a different sort of person. I’ve come to realise that now, although at the time we quietly accepted the fact that he turned up each day to work dressed in an immaculate deep grey suit with a fine white pin stripe in it, black shoes, polished, had his hair carefully brushed, and spoke in a very cultured accent. Sammy was genteel, didn’t get down and dirty, but must have done something, because dozens of small tins of poster paint were mixed up and ready for use every morning: black, white, red, yellow and blue. There were also dozens of good pencils sharpened and awaiting our command. We did a lot of line drawing, drawing a posing model, still life with fruit or flowers or both, and lots and lots of painting with large brushes and the poster paint.
In those days schools in my part of the world put aside decent amounts of class time for art and music. Both studies require a great deal of skill and practice, and therefore are excellent for developing the body and mind; for offering children the opportunity to express themselves anyway they liked, without undue criticism or censure. If you don’t use it you lose it, but if you never had it, believe me, you have missed a great deal.
Wednesday, from eight in the morning till lunch time – one pee break allowed, you didn’t get off that easy – we made paintings of flowers, usually dahlias, big beautiful specimens in lovely colours of red, violet, cream yellow, orange. Perhaps Sammy had a garden, and that’s where he let his hair down.
We were encouraged to do as much as we could in the time, spreading the wet paints over sheets of old newspaper, which someone must have torn apart and provided for our use. Or maybe we did pencil sketches of the same, to get a better idea of what we were looking at.
I have never forgotten Sammy, nor have I ever not done some kind of art. I got the bug back then, and have lived with it ever since.



  1. I like the bold colors of this painting!!! Cheers Nonoy Manga

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