The Painting

One rainy Sunday afternoon, Mrs Mott took the Mott kids to the Art Gallery.

It turned out to be a bit of a disaster, really.

Elvis was so noisy – singing and banging on things. Bill kept complaining and saying that he wanted to go home, until he discovered that there was a lift with buttons. Bill just loves pressing buttons. The lift kept stopping, the doors kept opening and closing and everyone got really cranky – except Bill who was having a great time until Mrs Mott dragged him away.

Then Albert started telling everyone things like “The artist who painted that was born in 1793 and died in 1867 and lived in Amsterdam” – B-o-r-ing!

But Vincent really liked the paintings. Some were kind of weird but others were really good. There was one painting of a rainbow over a green field that he specially liked. Vincent felt that he would love to be able to make paintings like that.

At school the next day, Vincent’s teacher, Miss Squeakyshoes, asked the class about what they had done on the weekend. Vincent told her about the Great Art Gallery Expedition and his favourite painting and how real the rainbow looked.

“That’s done with special oil paints” explained Miss Squeakyshoes.

That night, Vincent told his Mum that he needed special oil paints so that he could paint a rainbow.

“Oil paints are for adults” said his mother. “Use those nice coloured pencils that you got for Christmas.”

Vincent tried his pencils but it just wasn’t the same. Soon he gave up. He sometimes looked at pictures of paintings in books and on the Internet and tried to copy them. But his drawings all looked dull and lifeless compared to the originals.

One Saturday morning, when Vincent’s mother was out shopping, Harpo Emot came to play. Now Harpo was bit of a wild kid – always getting into trouble – but he was kind of fun at the same time.

When Vincent mentioned painting, Harpo got really excited. He started jumping up and down, yelling “Paint me a rainbow!”

“But I don’t have any oil paints” explained Vincent.

“I don’t care” said Harpo “Just paint me a rainbow!” And he kept jumping up and down, yelling “Paint me a rainbow! Paint me a rainbow!”

“All right!” said Vincent. “But how do I paint green grass without paint?”

“Use the lime syrup in the fridge” said Harpo. (Harpo was always looking in the fridge, so he would know about the green lime syrup.)

Vincent tried it and it didn’t look too bad.

“The sky needs to be grey” said Vincent. “How do I do that?”

“Black boot polish, of course,” replied Harpo “and brown for the tree trunks.”

“I’m going to need red for the rainbow” said Vincent.

This made Harpo stop and think for a moment. Then he said shouted “Lipstick!”

“I don’t think Mum would be too pleased if I used her lipstick” said Vincent.

“Do you think that she’s going to be delighted with green lime syrup and boot polish all over the kitchen? This is art! Don’t worry, just do it!”

And, so, Vincent did. But then he said “I need some white clouds.”

A strange smile came over Harpo as he said “Ice-cream!”

Just as Vincent was putting the finishing touches to his masterpiece – which actually looked amazingly good – there was a noise at the front door. It was Vincent’s mum.

“Wow! I’m in real trouble!” thought Vincent, as his mother saw the mess in the kitchen. And he was right – she was furious!

But after a moment, she looked at Vincent’s rainbow picture; and she started to calm down. Then she looked some more. After a really long time, she said “That’s actually a really good painting. It has such life. It’s not at all like your usual dull copies. I think that you have some real talent! But ice-cream and lipstick art will never catch on – tomorrow, I’m getting you those oil paints!”