There’s a list. Yes, a list. A list of everything I wish to accomplish before I reach my ultimate end. It is a list of the almost improbable and near impossible. Because it simply isn’t enough to just live. To live, one must live exorbitantly. Like that of No. 07 – To live in a painting. Obviously, as much as I long to be a part of the Impressionist movement in the early 19th century, it is a laughable notion, although tragic, but alas an unfortunate matter that it just can’t be so. Australian artist, Charles Conder’s first Melbourne painting, A Holiday in Mentone (1888) does give light to No. 07, however.
Conder’s A Holiday in Mentone has been described as a ‘critically acclaimed masterpiece of the Australian Impressionist style of painting’ and ‘singularly Australian work’. Though Conder’s work was not well received in Australia in his era, he was greatly praised by fellow Impressionist painters, such as Degas, Pissarro and Toulouse-Lautrect. With the influence of Japanese art and American painter James McNeil Whistler, Conder gives life to an almost surreal, uncanny mood to the painting. And amidst the dream-like feel the painting displays, the contrast between the soft and bright pastel colours Conder used help in staging a rich abstract composition with a brilliant sense of tranquility as our eyes move about the painting. Perhaps it is that very reason that makes A Holiday in Mentone so suitable to be No. 07. Consequently, this gives rise to No. 10- To visit the Art Gallery of South Australia to personally get a glimpse of the painting that allowed No. 07 to be a possibility.
Another number in the list that is also greatly inspired by an Impressionist painter is No. 5- To achieve perfection.. in other words, to learn ballet. Edgar Degas’s The Dance Class (1874) is a depiction of young ballerinas dancing under the tutelage of the master, who is portrayed in the scene as an authority at the height of his powers. With the vigorous and repetitious training ballerinas go through, Degas observe while filling his sketches with the same figures repeatedly, almost as if ‘they were movable mannequins to be arranged on the canvas’. And like how the dancers perform countless repetitions to perfect their movements, Degas sketched the dancers’ every gesture and positions to make his paintings as authentic as possible. In almost all, if not all, of Degas’s La Classe de Danse paintings, the young girls are seen overtired and exhausted. Though despite the meticulously, difficult training, to be a part of something that demands so much focus, athleticism, strength, patience and passion, one would be deemed a simpleton to not yearn to be in that same level of class.
It’s a terribly long list that I have tried to condense ever so throughout time. However it only appears, the list gets longer without the will to actually strive to fulfill them. But here’s a start to truly acknowledging them, and in attempt to purposefully try to cross them out of the list. Here’s to the first 10.
Naturally there are numbers a little less challenging to pursue as well. All I need is a little more patience and persistence. No. 4- To play Yiruma’s May Be by heart. No. 09- To learn three more languages fluently. Arabic, French and Spanish.
And then there are dreams. No. 02- To design and build a house. Not just a house. I’ve got a rough sketch how I would want it to look, I just need to acquire enough skills in Architecture to know it wouldn’t collapse the second I add a roof. No. 3- To have my work showcased in a prestigious art gallery. No. 10- To be a photographer for National Geographic.
Then there are numbers that serve a greater purpose. No. 06- To be a UN volunteer, the sort that would travel and stay in an unknown area and help for a duration of at least six months. No. 08- To be a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
And then there are also numbers that I would like to do but most probably would not want to, like that of No. 11- To go bungee jumping. My aerophobia insists I claim defeat with that one.