We have a new Russian recruit to our Summer School, she is a very earnest little girl with large round glasses which makes her look rather owlish. She speaks very little English but we are managing to communicate with a mixture of sign language and the odd bit of translation from our other Russian speaker. Translation is actually a very difficult thing to do. Very often you can know, very well, how to say something in two languages but are incapable of being able to make the transition and also he is far keener on playing Knights in the woods than hanging around chatting about ballet. (You can’t really blame him.) So we are trying to work it ourselves.
She is very reluctant to play but has instead, fallen on the art activities like a half starved child finding a loaf of bread. All I have to do is feed her paint, pencils and paper and she remains in a state of near ecstasy and won’t budge from her seat. So while the other’s went off to the woods the other day I remained at home with her. I found the silence slightly uncomfortable, to be honest, so I offered to put on some music. She agreed enthusiastically so I choose Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker as a homage to her home and we both got on with our painting. Suddenly she spontaneously began to dance around the the room in happiness, and if she found it at all strange to find herself on holiday in Italy, dancing to The Nutcracker in a strange English woman’s kitchen she gave no outward sign, while I applauded her efforts she came and sat happily down and continued with her art.
After that we are getting along fine and when I gave her some shells to paint today I thought she was going to kiss me. It’s nice to be able to make someone happy so easily but it does make you wonder what the art education is like in Russia.