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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Less is More (Day 165)

Meeting up and a lesson in Art - Less is More

The phrase “less is more” comes from the poem "The Faultless Painter" by Robert Browning, the title being quite apt for our afternoon. However before I share that with you, let me share what a lovely morning we had. At 10:30am we were waiting at the railway station and within seconds we saw them walking up to greet us. We’d arranged to spend the morning with Will and Sofia. Will is one of our son John’s best buddies, they were at school together, rowed together and played rugby from the age of 6 together. Sofia and Will met at Uni and what a beautiful young lady she is, inside and out. When we lived in Warmington, she’d come bouncing into our house like a ray of sunshine. What a joy to see them.

Will and Sofia are living and working in Melbourne at HelloFresh, the meal kit company that delivers recipes and fresh ingredients to your doorstep. We used them in the UK and loved getting our box of ingredients each week for three meals. It got me back into cooking, even Tim and I cooked together without bickering, the meals were always delicious, different and there was no wastage. No having to buy a pack of spices that you use once and then it remains at the back of the drawer for 16 years before you chuck it out when you sell your house. (That was the fenugreek.)

Anyhow, going back to Will and Sofia, we walked along the Kananook Creek for an hour, Tim chatting with Sofia and me with Will. So lovely to hear what they are up too, how well they have got on at work, learning loads about people and themselves through managing teams, plus life in Melbourne. They were both so attentive listening to us drone on about our stories. We finally arrived at One Pear Tree Café where we went to last Saturday, carried on chatting while having a delicious meal. Time flew by as it does when you are having fun. They are both a delight and a real pleasure to spend time with.

We shared with them our experience of going to the life drawing with Alix in Sydney and nearly persuaded them to come along to the art demo at Original Oz Art at the Boathouse Gallery, however they then remembered that they needed to get back to the car as it only had 4-hour parking permit. I think we may have inspired Sofia to get back into art, not sure about Will though. After photos and hugs, we said a very fond farewell.

The Art gallery is just a few doors down. We arrived to find people squeezed in one of the rooms waiting in anticipation for artist Angelo Quabba to begin. His easel, which turns out to be over 30 years old, is at the ready.

Angelo (see originates from Bione near Lake Garda, Northern Italy and visited Australia in 1977 returning to settle in 1982. I was surprised to hear that he is a satellite-dish technician by day. I thought he was a full-time artist with his talent. His passion is painting and teaching and we so enjoyed listening to him whilst he created a wonderful work of art before our very eyes.

As he was going along, he described what he was doing, such a good teacher, we learnt loads. For example, he would use the brush edge to check angles, have lots of brushes to keep the colours clean and for different textures. He wants rigidity in his brushes, not too floppy and would sometimes cut them down if they were too long. He described how he uses purple, blue and ochre to create the shade, which is key and talked about the different types of paint and the transparency of them, but that was a bit over Tim and my heads.

It was so wonderful to watch, his approach is very intuitive and spontaneous, he doesn’t cognitively know what he is going to do next; it flows. It was like watching a conductor in action, using the extension of his arm and holding the brush at the end to get swiping, flowing brush strokes, bringing energy to the canvas, then sudden staccatos, tap tap tap, a fleck of white against the dark brown that brought the painting to life.

He talked about "less is more" in a painting and wondered where the quote came from. I quickly looked it up, How apt that it’s from the poem called "The Faultless Painter", especially as Angelo said “complacency is a terrible mistake” and demonstrated that when he made a mistake, he would quickly correct it, the beauty of using oils. He shared that if he was using a photo for the subject, he would often paint this with it upside down. I remember Alix informing us of this tip, it gets you looking more at the shapes and the shading rather than what you think you see. So many tips and there were even more that I haven’t written about. Very inspiring.

Afterwards, we looked around the gallery and found some of Angelo’s finished works of art. I love his flowing loose style, so much movement in his work. We got chatting to a few of the other audience. One lady was going to England soon, and the subject of Brexit came up which swiftly moved to politics and religion. Mmm…not really subjects in a social environment. I could tell that she was very set in her beliefs and Tim was in his element having a big discussion with her. I decided to leave them to it and got chatting to Angelo, a far more joyful conversation about his family, art, Italy, places we’ve been to in Melbourne, and yes, you may have guessed it, three principles, which he was very interested in. Hey, it’s my passion.

Time for us to get going, back to looking after Murphy. I think my next artwork will be having a go of drawing something upside down. I’ll let you see how I get on.

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