This September, as we approached the final day of my two week stay at Studio Paradiso, a guest asked if all my painting holidays weren’t the same, with every week like the one before and so on and on down the years. I replied that they would indeed all be the same if every one who came was the same; if every one started at the same point in their lives, had the same experiences and wanted to paint in the same way, too. Then, I could have a one-size-fits-all Art Recipe that I could teach in my sleep and at the end of a week at Studio Paradiso, there’d be those who’d abided by that recipe and those who didn’t and we’d have a Tuscan hillside full of winners and losers. The winners would go away happy (until they got tired of their recipe, of course) and the losers would probably never pick up a paintbrush again.
Instead of all this sameness, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know dozens and dozens of people whose art is as different as the lives they lead. Being responsive to the unique creativity that abides in every human being is one of the many pleasures of teaching art. Another, is waking up to yet another warm, sunny morning, strolling across the garden to the kitchen and greeting Dermot with a ‘buongiorno!’ as he prepares the breakfast fruit salad and as I sip my coffee in the shade of the fig tree, asking myself, “What colour shall I paint the sky today?”