You will have to forgive this badly cropped phone photo, but this painting by one of H.I.'s Summer School students really caught my eye when I was helping to clear up last week.
Only one of her students had ever been a professional teacher of art, and it was not this one. The first thing that struck me was that it is a very good likeness of the sitter - an extremely good likeness of a very distinctive face. Then as you look, the rest seems to harmoniously align itself in your eyes, or it would do if I had not cropped it so badly. Those hands were resolved the day after I took this picture, and - to my mind - the painter (a middle-aged woman) went home with the most visually successful painting of the group.
That is not to say that the whole, one-week exercise was a competition, it's just that when you see a challenge met like this and problems resolved by an amateur in such a pleasing way, it cannot help but stand out.
She thought that it was simply a lucky strike, but - like that hole-in-one - it was just the culmination of a lot of concentration and effort, which is what all good art is about to my mind.
H.I. summed it up nicely when she said that it reminded her of those early American, naive portraits from the turn of the 19th century. I agree, now that she has pointed it out.
The sitter is off to study sculpture at a London college this September. I wonder if her teachers will be asking complete beginners to run before they can walk by encouraging 'conceptual' art, as they did at my college over 40 years ago.