Tim and I talk over dinner most nights. I don’t mean, of course, that we don’t talk all the time, but that we pick on a subject and pursue it. Sometimes we disagree rather considerably, though not actually seriously, but more often we find it interesting.
Tonight we were talking about art, in a broad sense; or rather artists, still in a broad sense, to include books, painting and so on. I have the feeling that it’s too easy to be a writer, an artist, a poet – in the days of self-publishing, how do you find real quality? It’s there, certainly, but it’s less easy to find among the dross. A good many years ago – probably 25 or so, which means I have no concern about upsetting anyone involved – Russell saw an article in the local paper about a woman who, having retired from her job, took up painting and was putting on a one-woman exhibition. He was quite intrigued and we went along to see it, taking my mother too.
It was awful. Just daubs, deliberately out of scale. Big splashy flowers that were quite out of harmony with their background, landscapes that were intended to be naive but were just ineptly painted and really quite ugly. The woman and her husband were so excited and hopeful, and had obviously spent a lot of money on frames, prints, cards and so on, but I truly doubt if they sold anything much. As we were leaving, the visitor’s book was pushed at us and Russell and I hesitated. We hardly knew what to write. My mother had more aplomb. “Utterly charming!” she wrote. Insincere but kind (the insincerity was in the !) and they beamed and we escaped.
After dinner we played music, or at any rate Tim did, at my request, because I still haven’t linked my computer to the loudspeakers. It’s not a job for the evening when I’m tired. Tim took me out to lunch today as well, because he’s lovely.
Which reminds me, I think we’re getting a bit low on red wine. Better deal with that.