Updated May 24. Sir Paul is in Liverpool this week to launch his art exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery. In spite of having just completed a major United States tour a few days ago, Sir Paul looked tanned, relaxed and fit in a T-shirt, denim jacket, black trousers, and sandals. He told reporters at the exhibit's media preview today:"I used to come here as a schoolboy. The time I really hung out here was in the 60s with John going around all those big galleries. We used to come round here a lot in the afternoons probably sagging off (school). If I had said to John then 'I'm going to have an exhibition here one day,' I think I know what he would have said. I'll leave it to your imagination.The canvases on display in the exhibit depict colorful landscapes, shells, flowers, people with wild faces, and scenes from Celtic mythology, reflecting Sir Paul's interest in his Irish ancestry. There are tributes to both of the loves of his life - "Big Heart" for Heather (see May 22) and for Linda "The Kiss," (Sir Paul kissing Linda) and "Hottest Linda," (Linda sunbathing).
"I'm not out to show the world what I can do. I'm not trying to impress anybody except myself. I think I've shown the world enough already."
Unfortunately, the art critics have not been kind. Even before seeing the show, leading British art critic and broadcaster Brian Sewell said, "His work has no merit. It is rubbish. What is worse, the man thinks he is a genius. He will be walking on water next. It is a bit like a renowned writer, say for instance Muriel Spark, suddenly deciding at a late age to become a pop singer." Robin Simon, editor of the British Art Journal stated, "Unlike Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, McCartney's art is indescribably bad. I was shown examples of his work last year and asked to comment on them without having any idea who had painted them - which is, of course, how one should always review art. What I saw was a dog's dinner."
Sir Paul claims he is not interested in the opinions of the critics:"Some will like them and some won't. They're entitled to their opinions but I never read them. I really just do it for my own enjoyment. There's so much to learn, that's half the fun.In spite of the critics, "The Art of Paul McCartney" exhibit is expected to draw visitors from all over the world. Julian Treuherz, keeper of the Walker Gallery, stated that plans have been instituted to limit the large crowds expected to visit the exhibition. The Walker Gallery has a long tradition of displaying the work of local artists and over the years Sir Paul has remained loyal to his Liverpool roots. He still maintains a home there and visits the city regularly. And there are no plans to take the paintings on world tour. The exhibition will only be shown in Liverpool.
"Painting is just something I enjoy. I don't take it very seriously. I just do it for my own fun. A lot of these were done in the early 90s when I was on tour and I just wanted to paint on the days off. For me it's an enjoyment thing. I basically like to apply paint onto canvas. I just like the act of it -- I make it up as I go along. That doesn't mean I know what I'm doing - but I know when to stop. I really don't analyze them that much.
"I don't mind sticking my neck out, I think you've got to. When we did Sergeant Pepper, that was sticking my neck out and I don't think it hurt us. I like these challenges. Life can be boring if you stick to the same old things. It's not too good when you get negative feedback but that's sticking my neck out. Some people don't like it. They think I'm getting a bit uppity, but I just enjoy painting."
None of the works on exhibit are available for sale. "I don't need the money," said Sir Paul.
Oh, and what about the wedding plans? Sir Paul assured the press that, "The wedding plans are going fine, but I'm not telling you nothing."
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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