Wanderlino Arruda
Djalma Souto


Ten Years of Paints and Brushes

I remember as if it were yesterday, the day that, at the house of Samuel Figueira, myself, giving advice, more than usual, about his style of painting, in his use of color, in the choice of his themes and probably even about the proper evolution of his art. I really must have exaggerated in my function of art critic, and from that, came his unexpected challenge: Why didn´t I, such an apparently big know-it-all about painting, try to paint a picture right then and there in front of him, his wife Mila and Shirley Durães, who was there visiting them that Sunday afternoon? Insult or invitation, convocation or whatever, he didn’t have to force me, and with no further ado, I immediately dove right into the canvas, creating my first landscape, blue, white and green, primitive, with no shade, completely smooth, flat and even a little transparent. For a beginner, I guess it was a success. In a little more than two hours, with my friend Samuel guiding me along here and there, and even helping me out a little with the palm fronds, because at that moment, I didn’t have that certain light touch, which, by the way, I still haven’t acquired.

Just a few days ago in nearby Mirabela, Shirley, upon seeing a painting of mine, reminded me of that first adventure in painting, and asked me if it was worth it, after all these years of effort in the colorful world of tubes of pigment, brushes, pallet knives and canvases. She also wanted to know if I considered myself a happier person after being a painter for so long, a profession in which one suffers so much criticism from both who know about painting and also from those who know absolutely nothing . And what would I tell her? Of course, everything is fine, painting has been a marvelously, extraordinary hobby, a significantly singular exercise in patience, a new source of study, an encounter and reencounter with art, spanning centuries of admiration and enchantment. When I am painting, the hours fly by in true dreamtime, fascination, replete in mental gratification, captured in delicious feelings of joy. And about the criticism…especially the negative type, it has helped me a lot, contributing towards my growth, competence and the search of a better performance.

In truth, I have no idea whatever, of where I stand as a painter, in the world of art because it has been so long since I have been in the company of Samuel and Konstantin Christoff, my two very demanding teachers, that, even when complementing my work, still find some way of making some constructive criticism, giving valuable suggestions and never, never showing themselves to be completely satisfied with my work. I don’t speak much of Godofredo Guedes, this being because he never thinks anyone besides he himself paints well. That is because he, as a painter, never strayed away from the academic school, and, therefore could not appreciate any other style of painting, rarely giving useful instruction or suggestions, for old or young disciples of the art. It is because good old GG finds that the profession of painting is too painful, too hard, and too difficult. He really only gave worth to classic, academic painting. Reality, in its line, form and color. To him, our newer, modern forms of expression are inventions created by painters that think they know what they are doing but in truth, have no idea, whatever.

Another important painting instructor, Cristina Rabelo, a few days ago, looked at almost all the pictures which I had prepared for my upcoming exhibition on July thirteenth, at the Culture Center, here in Montes Claros, said that she liked them, but still asked me why I had abandoned still life painting of flowers…On the other hand, our family´s criticism, from which there is absolutely no escape, my wife, Olímpia and daughters Wladênia and Rizzia and also my daughter in law, Nádia closely follow each and every painting I do, summarily presenting their feedback in the exact minute of each request of evaluation. My sons, João Wlader, Danilo, Denilson and Wanderlino Jr. find themselves somewhat absent and aloof from these sessions of critical evaluation.

These are the happenings in my world of pigments and I must admit that I have no complaints. Better and more profitable moments have never been found during these wonderful ten years of painting, exactly when I am completing my first half-century of existence on this earthly plane. Painting has been a happy blooming of life, a form of internal and external peace, an evocation of past memories of my travels and remembrance of those lovely dream landscapes. After I started painting, I have never passed by nature, or her by me, as if existence was a blank page. Each and every road, each piece of sky, each tree, every leaf, the silver mirror of the waters, however tiny as it may be, has been a celebration to my thirsty eyes and imagination.

The painter is a color, form and movement-reader, the visualization of dimensions that exist and do not exist. I was almost forgetting to make an apology about Godofredo and his lesser collegues of fine art. What he just doesn’t like is anybody else’s painting. To them, he is and has remained a good friend. In what it concerns me, he has given me only enthusiastic words of encouragement. Perhaps I am the only person that he has actually tried to teach his painting techniques. This, he said was because he feels that painters in general, suffer tremendously, since very young, and that I, had no need to work as a painter to survive, and therefore, it was all right, and I have since been eternally grateful.

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