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Television work

I always begin with the sky, Film made by Original Films, produced by Boyd Catling.

More dressing up. This film was made to coincide with a major exhibition in 1992-3 at the Royal Academy, London, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris and the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore of the work of the Anglo/French painter Alfred Sisley.

The film takes its name from a Sisley quote about landscape painting. I played Sisley, effectively in the lead role for the first and last time in a film. The budget was very small and time was very short, but I think everyone involved gave it their best shot.

Just as with the BBC’s The Impressionists, it was all filmed on location in the various places around France where Sisley painted, including Moret-sur-Loing, the small town where he’s still a local hero.

My skills as a painter were useful here in the same way as they were for The Impressionists. I assume I was very useful on that front, after all have you ever seen an actor pretend to paint? It always amazes me that there are so many films, even otherwise good films, where actors try to look like they’re painting but end up being about as convincing as Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Marie Antoinette.

They’ll learn to ride horses or smoke cigarettes or fire guns convincingly, but painting? Anyone can do that, can’t they?

Leo2 Staffa