Friday, November 16, 2007

Why paint - Oh what joy it brings

A rainbow fertilizing the soil of a nation
Esmand and Ann Dasent are an older couple from Trinidad and Tobago. Together, they have a great history of the originals of the Trinidad Art Society, and a calender highlighting Chinese painters brings back fond memories. It is, as Ann says, as refreshing as if they were painted yesterday, the works by Sybil Attect, Amy Leong Pang, Willie Chen and master of them all, Carlise Chang. Both she and her husband are grounded in a period when painters who meant something, painted something of more substance. There is no comparison from works seen today.

But in their small home, there is a humble painter, a man trained by America's very best among others, Norman Rockwell in the 1940s. There, he was taught about the principles of the form, anatomy and the differences between illustration and painting. Illustration was for the common man, while painting was purely artistic in its content.

Mr. Dasent has stopped painting due to his poor eyesight and his scenic oils have become etchings in color pencil kept in a small drawing book. The drawings look as if his vision is masked by a curtain, his pencil strokes fill in shapes that represent a landscape.

But it is his broken-spirit of not being able to have a clear focus of his subjects that detours his efforts. And yet it is his inner passion to work from pencils and colour markers that gives a clue that artists are born artists.

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