by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 01 December 2015
"Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak." John Adams
Sergei Bongart painted and taught painting - in the United States.
His fluent English was heavily flavored with Russian mother tongue - sometimes making words difficult to understand especially if context was not clear.
Once giving advice at an easel, a student reacted with beaming self-confidence - 'Yes, I can do this, big messes I can do.' To work they went, happily.
When the master returned to check on progress he was aghast - "What are you doing?"
"Making big messes!"
There was an ever-so-slight miscommunication.
The instructive word was "masses."
And interestingly enough today's masses suffer because Barack Obama speaks neither Russian nor American English.
I just watched and listened to Mr. Obama's closing remarks and answers to questions at the global warming summit in Paris, France - his idea for waging war on ISIS; which differs from Russia's Mr. Putin.
What a damn mess!
Nor can Mr. Obama paint.
Nor teach (though he attempts to instruct in "teachable moments").
In American English and Russian and in paint, that is truth.
John Adams captures Mr. Obama, perfectly.
Now off to the studio - a portrait on the easel is just underway and the big masses (to preempt messes) still need attention - for brush talk.
Sometime I will write about Sergei Bongart (1918-1985) - a wonderful painter with a personality bigger than life. Ironically, he was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and immigrated (tough, dangerous journey) to the United States as a young, formally-trained painter.