Sunday, 10 August 2008


Even before I could talk I would love to paint... We were poor and my mother would not spend money on paint or paper so I was obliged to beg what materials I could from the artists who regularily set up their easels alongside the canal. I suspect that by the age of six I had probably shared paint with some of the great artists of that time.

At school I was briefly instructed by Pieter Mondriaan (long before he removed an A from his name and moved to Paris). He asked us on one occasion to paint a picture that expressed our first memory...I painted this:

The black lines are the tram tracks my fathers bicycle wheels caught in; the yellow of course is the bicycle; the red is his blood and the blue is the water of the canal in which my father drunkenly drowned. Mr Mondriaan asked why there were no wheels or circles. I was obliged to state that I was developing a style of painting that did not rely on convential perceptions!
"You cheeky little cub" he replied. "Yes" I said, quick as a flash. "I shall call it CUBism!" Mr Mondriaan of course was greatly influenced by my early daubings and made a pretty sum from it I'm sure.

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