Serena & Marion: Something In Common?

Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli have a few things in common. They're both Wimbledon champions, they've both appeared on CNN recently, and they're both aspiring painters. Well, one more so.

Published December 05, 2013 12:04

Serena & Marion: Something In Common?
Serena Williams, Marion Bartoli

Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli have a few things in common. They're both Wimbledon champions, they've both appeared on CNN recently - here and here, and they're both aspiring painters.

Well, Bartoli - whose CNN Open Court interview took place at Claude Monet's Garden in Giverny, France - is probably far beyond aspiring. "I love painting and I love Monet so I'm very pleased to be in these beautiful gardens," the Frenchwoman said. "It's also a way to take some stress out. Even when it was hard to carry all the brushes and paint with me on the tour, I always found a way to bring them."

After beating Kirsten Flipkens in the semifinals of Wimbledon this year, Bartoli was asked to describe how she would paint her fortnight. "It would be something really smily and enjoyable because I'm really feeling great," she said. "I've been able to just come out on court without feeling any pressure and have just stayed focused and extremely strong mentally, but not stressed. But this kind of moment also comes from hard work, so I'd have to put that in there somehow. It would probably be a mix of the two.

"So it would maybe be a gray sky in some parts, and then the sunshine is coming out in other parts."

After winning the title, Bartoli got the ultimate compliment. "I remember after I won Wimbledon, John McEnroe said, 'She made her own version of Picasso.' I think it was the best comment I ever received."

While Williams may have had more success on the court at Wimbledon - she has won the title five times - she is just in the early stages of the kind of lifelong passion Bartoli has developed for art.

"My friend Val was taking a painting class," Williams said during her run to the title at Roland Garros. "I was like, 'I want to get in the class.' I ended up going to a painting class. It was fun. Really random. I'm probably the worst artist alive. So I actually didn't do so well, but it was just really, really fun.

"The teacher put something on the table. It was like vases and a couple of apples, and something to hold the apples and a tablecloth, and we were supposed to paint that. I was like, 'Come on.' I had art school, I went to art school, and I failed my midterm because we had to draw this body, and I just lost it. It reminded me of art school because we started with charcoal - that's what I used on that midterm."

Williams was asked about watercolor. "We started out with charcoal, and then you go to watercolor, and then you use chalk afterwards to blend the colors in, and I just - I just wanted to paint landscape. I can paint a sky really well. I can paint grass really well. That's what I thought we were going to do."

The American, who has a residence in Paris, was then asked how she would paint her self-portrait.

"I'm good at that. I just draw a circle with a line and two arms, and then I just draw a lot of hair.

"I'm telling you, I'm a terrible artist."

And in another great back-and-forth with the press a few rounds later, Williams was asked if there was any artist she would like to meet or have liked to meet and take instruction from. She had an answer.

"You know, there is a guy actually on PBS, and he draws," Williams said, of course referring to Bob Ross of The Joy Of Painting fame. "You know that guy? I would love to take lessons from that guy."

Unfortunately, Ross had passed away - in 1995. "Oh..." Williams said when she was informed of that news. But it was an open-ended question, after all. "Yeah, okay, I just love his personality. I love how he makes shading and he does a lot of artwork. It seems like he could work with real beginners like me, and makes things seem very basic, and make people think like, 'Wow, I can do this kind of thing too.'

"That would have been nice."

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