I found myself talking Art – with a nice bloke I’ve never met before – in the pub this week. It was at a leaving do for my other half.
Neither of us look like gallery buffs. But a happy coincidence of amateur enthusiasm for the painterly arts, meant two slightly awkward men – with ostensibly nothing in common – had a surprising bond.
He told me about a couple of lectures he’d been to at the National Gallery: what’s hidden in Turner’s boats and skies, what’s interesting about (two painters neither of us usually find remotely interesting) Gainsborough and Reynolds.
I told him about ‘Barge haulers on the Volga‘ and the problems of perspective for Renaissance composition (realism can really get in the way of symbolism – see Uccello navigating the transition from Medieval to modern above).
We finished on intrigue and alchemy in Nineteenth century porcelain (him) and the challenges of making colours and the discovery of new blues (me, him and Monet).
A cracking natter. We could’ve done footy – he offered me Everton FC early on. But something about him (chair of his local synagogue, England Rugby shirt, a bald head and long grey curls) made me venture portraiture.
I’m so glad I did. Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘flow’ in action.