Superior work, Krissy. Your brushstroke is improving with each day of strenuous, disciplined practice. Do not slacken! Do you want to be the best in this classroom or not? Up, down, left, right! More wrist, less forearm! I am hard on you only because I see great promise; you must place total trust in my methods. Yes, yes … Better, girl.
Jonas, what do you have for me today … Hmm, a lone snowcapped mountain. Let me ask you, Jonas: Are you a sketcher or a painter? An amateur sketcher has the energy and drive merely for one mountain; a serious painter, two or more. Oh, really—the single peak symbolizes the majestic loneliness of the human condition? While we’re at it, why don’t we regress to a rudimentary Hudson River School style of shallow transcendentalism? Destroy it, and do not show your face again until you are ready to depict multiple summits. Wrong, that’s the recycling bin. The garbage is on the left. My left.
Agnes, your blues are robust, but your earth tones are frail and sickly. A run-of-the-mill critic will pummel you without mercy. There are two approaches you can take: focus exclusively on ocean and pond scenes, or confront the abyss of your painterly deficiencies by incorporating forest backgrounds. The choice is yours: become a complete artist with no vulnerabilities or remain a one-trick journeywoman.
Silence, pupils! Cease your palette-mixing and inane chattering and irksome gum-snapping! You will present your final portfolios to me two Saturdays from now at 7 a.m. sharp. Stop whining—I used to rise at 4 every morning to face the tennis-ball machine, because no human opponent could even hope to compete with me at that hour, when God spoke through my punishing inside-out forehand as clearly as He did through Moses.
The portfolio I rank first will receive wider exposure at the Stamford Independent Craftsmakers’ Convention on June 2. I will be by the winner’s side to share in the glory that I had a strategic hand in producing.
No, Jonas! There is no reward for second place, in landscape painting or in life! Leave now before my mere Beckeresque irritation with you turns into a profound, McEnroe-like petulance!
You miscreants could all learn a lesson from Krissy. Notice how her beachfront has no wasted texture or stippling. Efficiency is her most formidable weapon when attacking the canvas, and it reminds me of my pinpoint passing shots in the ‘90 Australian final against Edberg, when I wreaked so much havoc on his body and psyche that he retired in the third set rather than continue the torture. The ailing Swede could not withstand my baseline play or the Melbourne sun that day, and neither can the rest of you surpass Krissy’s eye for shadow and light. She brims with talent and confidence like the early Aaron Draper Shattuck.
Repeat after me the Lendl mantra: To paint a landscape, I must first dominate the landscape. What does this mean in practice? If a sycamore does not fit in the composition of your painting, you do not paint around it like a passive, craven Mednyánszky—no, you uproot its arboreal might and set its withered husk aflame so your landscape remains true to life. That is the landscape artist’s only obligation, to represent the truth, and to annihilate superfluous foliage when it interferes with that truth.
I will not be here next Saturday, as I have a motivational-speaking engagement at a landscape-painting teachers’ conference in Hartford, but the center promises their substitute is worthy of my stead. Although I would laugh at that assertion if my mouth could form a shape conducive to laughter, Mr. Gary Rothschild has taught landscape painting and lanyard-making in Bristol for 26 years. In my opinion, only a Birkenstock-wearing dilettante would compromise his landscape-painting concentration with an additional, inferior art form, much like how Wilander compromised the purity of his ground strokes with a third-rate net game, but I order you to show him the same respect, gratitude, and fear as you would show me.
We will spend the remaining two hours on cumulus clouds. Absolutely no bathroom or injury breaks permitted.