One Woman's Week: Portrait Of The Artist

28-06-07

By Karen Fenessey 

I HAVE always been one of those annoying people who can do anything if they turn their mind to it. After a two week holiday in Corfu, I was pretty much fluent – chatting to locals about their daily lives and learning all about their unique habits. This is just one of the many skills I possess, and which make me the envy of pretty much everyone I meet. 

Sometimes, when I am on a train, I find myself looking out of the window and seeing the surrounding landscapes in a completely different way to normal people. Instead of just seeing a tree or a shrub, I analyse the world in terms of colour, shape and size. This is why I have recently recommenced my artistic career.

It’s funny how real artistic skill is one of these things which never leaves you, if you are truly gifted. I am just as skilled a penman as I was when I did my higher art all those years ago, and came in the top bracket of the year (the only reason I didn’t get the top spot was that the teacher, a young woman, was obviously jealous of my innate talent and marked me down for my essay about Van Gogh’s one and only masterpiece Sunflowers). When I pick up a brush, I can only liken it to sheer electric impulses flowing down my arm from my brain and controlling the movement of my hand.

I’m not being vain when I go on to add that I am also a highly skilled musician. My singing voice was first noticed by the head of music at my secondary school, who likened it to ‘a cross between Whitney Houston and Dame Kiri Ti Kanawa (who is a classical opera singer of genius level)’. Since then, I have constantly been shunned from bands, simply because the other members can’t keep up with my massive range.

My boyfriend Donny is in a band, but to be honest, he hasn’t a fraction of the singing talent I have, neither do any of the other band members. He can’t even do a vibrato when he sings, which is an Italian term meaning ‘to shake the voice’ and is very difficult to master if you’re not innately gifted. In my opinion, if you can’t perform vibratos then you are not a musician. Donny tries to claim that people like Bob Dylan and Lou Reed were some of the best musicians ever to live. But obviously, he can’t hear what I hear when he listens to them: that is, he doesn’t notice that neither of these men can perform the vibrato and most of the lyrics don’t even rhyme. These people are NOT musicians.

I really do despair about what people class as talent these days. Most people have no intuition about music or art, and people certainly don’t have the ability to use the spoken tongue as well as I do. I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of vocabulary, as many of the Greeks commented to me (in Greek). Less and less people are using language as they should these days and some of the spelling which gets handed in to me by my P2s is thoroughly disgusting. I only wish their parents could appreciate how lucky they are to have me as the sole educator of their children.

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