Cape Town - A long time ago I bought a painting.
It was hanging in a small shop in Muizenberg village, and was called Cat On A Warm African Night. I fell in love with it instantly but it cost R850, a great deal of money at the time. I hummed and hawed but I had to have it. Eventually I bought it (all this time later I can't remember where I found the money as it was certainly before I had a credit card). It has hung on the wall of all the places I have lived since, casting its benevolent gaze over my life. Every time I see it, my spirit lifts.
Last weekend, I bought another painting.
It was hanging on the wall of The Gallery in Riebeek Kasteel, and depicted an aloe. I have a minor obsession with aloes, and I fell in love with it instantly. I was interviewing The Gallery's owner, Astrid McLeod and told her it was my favourite among the art on her walls. She smiled and said it was a print of of one of her own paintings. I went away, thought about it a bit, came back and gave her several thousand rand (this time, I do have a credit card. I plan to pay myself back). I really shouldn't have spent money I don't have on something as frivolous as a painting but I just know that it will lift my spirits like my mystical cat painting. I also know that in 20 years time I will not remember how I raised the money to buy it - but I will still love the aloe.
The thing is I know nothing about art. There is an artistic gene in my family, but I did not get it. Just as I can't hear what people mean when they say something is out of tune, I can stare at a great work of art and feel only slight boredom.