I’ve become obsessed with paintings recently. Not art in general: paintings. I’ve been going to galleries in London and leaning in close to see the brush strokes on the canvas or the wood. I’ve been learning about glazes, tints, and something called scumbling, which, it transpires, is almost as good as its name. It’s been…amazing.
This started off because of my recent crush on Velazquez, an artist who applies paint so thinly that you can sometimes see the weave of the canvas peering through. He gets this incredible depth of feeling – integrity, the sense of a private moment captured and explored – and he does it with the lightest of materials, applied with a long-handled brush. You get a sense of speed. He’s a genius, but the thinness of his paint really takes him to another level. Everybody who loves Velazquez mentions it: so little paint, and he does so much with it.
In a book by Matthew Collings I got a glimpse of what I’ve truly become obsessed with. Matthew Collings is an art writer of imagination and playfulness – he reminds me a bit of our own Bertie – and he’s a painter, too. In Matt’s Old Masters, he writes about the appeal of paint: “…the idea that the handling of it has an expressive, rich, luxurious life of its own.”