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I am reading Hilary Spurling’s Matisse: The Life because he is a favourite artist of mine. I saw his huge snail at the Tate some years ago and it was wonderful – its size took me by surprise but then I am not spatially very aware, not in 3d anyway! I won’t write more on the book today except to say that I am enjoying it hugely – it’s beautifully written – but it is a sad read and somehow I was surprised by that; I wonder why?

Well, for my drawing I did a very fast ‘interpretation of his painting ‘Woman in a hat’ which is of his wife, Amelie Matisse, a formidable woman who friends said became more and more like her portrait as she got older. It’s a very interesting comment I think – especially given that when it was first exhibited people laughed at it. I suppose your reaction depends on what you look for in a portrait, what you expect to see, and what you think the artist’s job is. All those things can depend on your education, knowledge, awareness of art and what you think it’s for and does, your politics, your religion, your taste. I won’t go on because time runs on as ever and it’s been one of those days – I spent all morning at the children’s A&E (ER for you Americans , what do the Canadians call it?) because the little one has stopped weigh bearing on her right leg so isn’t walking at the moment. X-rays showed nothing at all and there’s no swelling or any other symptoms – she’s even crawling on it! – so everyone is left a little bemused and we have to give her paracetamol and wait and see. Ah well, life is not dull!

Pencil on paper

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