Sir Paul had some interesting comments to share at the opening of the exhibit of his paintings at the Arnolfini Art Gallery in Bristol:
"I always liked drawing as a kid and I liked the idea of painting, but I felt there was some sort of reason why I shouldn't, because I hadn't been trained, because I hadn't been to art college, because I was just a working class person.
"I started painting when I was about 40. People say life begins at that age. But after a few weeks, when nothing happened, I thought painting is something I've always wanted to do, so I did it."
Sir Paul said he was inspired to begin painting during a casual conversation with abstract impressionist Willem de Kooning in his East Hampton, close to the McCartney home in Long Island, New York.
"We were looking at one of his paintings and I said, 'At the risk of appearing gauche, what is it, Bill?' and he replied, 'I dunno, looks like a couch, huh?'
"I thought his painting looked like a purple mountain and he thought it looked like a couch, but the fact that he said that it didn't matter what it was just freed me."
It was Linda who provided him with the encouragement to paint:
"When I started painting, if she was in the room she would say
things like, 'Wow, you paint like a painter', and that was obviously a
great encouragement to me. She was my biggest supporter, just by thinking I was good."
Since her death, Linda has no longer been the subject of his work:
"I only painted her when she was alive because she would model for me ... I don't paint from photos normally and it is difficult to paint from memory but if she was to appear in a splodge of paint I was
knocking around, her face or something, then I would paint her.
"She had a fascinating face to paint. She had a very square jaw and a nice long neck, and I just used to love trying to capture it ... I think looking back on it, in every painting I painted of her I captured something of her, but never the whole thing."
In fact, Sir Paul has not painted since his Segen, Germany exhibition:
"I had been going through the fact that Linda died, which kind of ... stopped me painting."
In answer to his critics, Sir Paul confided:
"I take my work seriously, but I don't care what the critics say. I just like applying paint to canvas. I'm out to enjoy it ... I know that anyone who crosses over out of his own field tends to get criticised, so I just painted for myself and didn't tell anyone. For years I kept it quiet, and only my family knew that I painted."
The opening also gave Sir Paul an opportunity to comment on the recent republication of a December, 1970 interview John Lennon granted to Rolling Stone magazine editor Jann Wenner in which John's originally deleted vicious remarks against Paul have now been revealed. Paul remarked that the interview had been conducted in the midst of a period during which he and John were going through their worst crisis:
"It hurt a lot at the time but we got back together as friends and he is on record as saying 'a lot of that slagging off I gave Paul was really just me crying for help.'
"He was going through a lot of problems himself, and I don't think he meant most of what he said. So I have to look at those factors and think, wait a minute, he was crazy guy, who would say just what he wanted.
"He could have been boozed out of his head, as he was during that period, he could have been crazed on this, that or the other substance, he could have just decided to have a go at me.
"But we did get very friendly, and he did tell me that a lot of those things he said he didn't mean. I was very lucky in as much as before he got killed we were able to tell each other we loved each other. It was just a domestic tiff or, as we used to call it, a domestic blitz."
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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