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Life could have been so different...
10:48am Tuesday 24th August 2010 in Literary Corner
Every Sunday afternoon, almost immediately after supper I head to the vast fields near to where I live.
These fields stretch for miles. Eastwards you can see the city centre which is marvellous on winter evenings, watching the people scatter around stocking up on Christmas treats. If you look west, you don’t see much to the untrained eye; however for a painter, much like myself, it is a beautiful view. The fields seem to never end and each one covered in either rapeseed or poppies. Miles and miles of patches of red and yellow, vibrant and simply stunning. I sit on top of nearest fields to my cottage and flip a coin: heads is east, tales is west. Today was west. So I settle down, face west and begin to empty my tattered old art bag. Now was the decision of the medium. I had already painted these fields in watercolours, which of course looked marvellous as it was summer time and the flowers were in full bloom. At this moment, it was November. The fields had been ploughed but no flowers had begun to bloom as of yet. The sun was just beginning to set, which gave the frost-covered fields an icy, almost eerie feel to them. Charcoal would be the perfect choice, so I set to work.
I have always been quite fond of art since I was a little boy and not too bad at it, even if I do say so myself. Much to my dismay no one else shared that opinion. My parents thought artists were people that had never tried to find a job and my teachers used to say that my work was shabby and nothing compared to the greats. This discouragement had of course rubbed off on me as I soon began to think of art not as a career choice but as a hobby. I spent years searching for a new passion, something that would please both my parents and those who had taught me so well. Soon enough I discovered politics and as I had predicted, both were suitably pleased.
For many years, my art was brushed aside whilst I focused on my new passion. But rekindling an old flame is not a hard thing and once I had a few spare moments to myself, I began painting again. Naturally my major in politics took me to another city (the one which I had grown up in was certainly not advanced enough to secure me as president in the near future) but the city it had taken me to was one of equal beauty and lustre. The architecture was beyond compare – the detail was magnificent. Once when I was younger, one man had said to me “your art is a dreadful specimen, however what you have shown is an understanding of architectural knowledge. An artist makes the details of a building luminous; he paints them so the viewer thinks they are there within it. An architect draws what he sees and nothing more. That is your problem”. This comment stuck in my head and surrounded by all this spectacular design, I had an urge to paint it and to prove that man wrong. To paint these buildings and make even more beautiful on paper.
I chose a Sunday afternoon to keep in with tradition. I chose a magnificent church surrounded by large willow trees. I chose a summer afternoon for the best and most flattering light to work with. I chose pencil as it is the simplest of tools but with the most impressive results.
And so I worked. I caught every shadow, every small detail in the stain glass windows, every brick of the building was worked on for hours so that in total I spent six Sundays sketching this one building. And once it was complete, I was extremely pleased. So pleased in fact, I decided to take it to the local Academy of Fine Arts and ask for another application and submit this piece. I had been turned down once before from the academy but now I believed I had improved and I was good enough to study where many greats had studied before. Luckily, I could study part-time whilst my politics began to take shape and I must say I was extremely excited.
Unfortunately the academy declined my application once again, which disappointed me so much that I stopped painting for at least four months.
Nothing inspired me and when I had received the letter informing me I did not have a place at the academy (they had used the word ‘untidy’ one too many times) I didn’t want to waste my time on work that was getting me nowhere in life and again, focus on my politics.
But soon enough, the paintbrushes were calling me and I began. I painted many of the landscapes surrounding my city in oil colours although I rarely signed my work, since being told how dreadful my work really is I would rather not expose myself. My ego had been hit a number of times, but I did not stop believing. Picasso sold nothing more than 10 paintings whilst he was alive, but he is now regarded is one of the greats.
My political status was rising, even if my artistic one was not. However, I do hope that people remember me in many years to come as an artist not a political master. I, Adolf Hitler, will soon be the Picasso of the 20th century.
By Hannah Glass, 18, Cirencester College