I've mentioned before that Mrs Hickory is of the artistic persuasion, spending many hours in a lab coat that used to be white, staring at a canvas on which some image which exists on a photograph in front of her, in the flesh or just in her only mind is slowly taking shape. At such times she mutters incomprehensible things about the fusing of perspective, the tonality of the brushstroke and the habit of a particular yellow to dry too orange. She constantly asks my advice about technical and aesthetic points- heaven knows why, but I try to be helpful.
A friend of ours organizes and helps to sponsor a speed-painting competition, where you take your canvas and have a few hours to produce a picture, which is then judged and prizes awarded. Many of the participants are professional or semi-professional artists, so the competition is pretty stiff, but I persuaded Mrs Hickory to take part, mainly as a new challenge and to get her a little exposure, but also because the exhibition and judging are held in a hotel attached to a vineyard, whose owner is very generous with the entertainment on these occasions.
While she painted, I offered moral support and attempted to answer her agonized questions intelligently, but I also took the bike for a couple of hours and went along the riverbank. There were painters everywhere, sometimes two or three at the same spot, pointing in different directions, their attention having been caught by different aspects of the same bit of countryside.
A few painted views of the hotel itself, and a couple went inside and painted details of the dining area and the bottles in the cellar. The winners were fairly predictable, since all of them are well known in the province and their styles are instantly recognizable, but everyone pretended not to take it too seriously.
The photo is of the winner, Ángel Pintado, with his painting. A quiet, shy chap you would never notice in a group, but his works sell for thousands.
Addendum: I realize the photo isn't very good, but that's the way it was.
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