|To pierce||To penetrate|
|Handkerchief||Piece of cloth used to clean your nose|
|Breast||Upper front part of the human body|
|Grip||Action of taking and keeping a firm hold|
|At ease||Comfortable and unworried; completely relaxed|
|To decipher||To succeed in understanding (a coded message,|
bad handwriting, etc.)
|Self-portrait||Painted picture or photograph of oneself|
|Net||Loose open material made of string, wire, etc.|
|To struggle||To move one's body vigorously|
|Odd||Strange, unusual, peculiar|
|To nod||To move the head down and then up again|
|To threaten||To make an indication warning of future danger,|
|Warrior||person who fights in battle; soldier|
|To overcome||To find a way of dealing with or solving a problem, etc.|
|To compel||To force; to make somebody do something|
|To sketch||To draw without many details|
The artist gave me a look that pierced right through me. He was dressed in a dark black business suit, a beige cotton shirt and a tie. There was a bright green handkerchief in his breast pocket. I introduced myself and Powel offered me his hand immediately. His hands were the delicate hands of an artist, but with a firm grip. He had a warm, sincere smile which made me feel immediately at ease.
I explained that I had always been fascinated by his work but that it was only at his latest exhibition I had suddenly understood what he wanted to say. I had always wanted to meet him personally, but now I had an added interest in knowing if I had really deciphered the key to his paintings and to ask him if my analysis was correct. If it was so, I wanted to write a thesis about the paintings in the United States. Then I described for Powell my interpretation of his painting "The Fisherman". I asked him whether it was a self-portrait, I wondered whether the fisherman's boat, the net and the struggling fish showed Powell as a person at odds with a cruel world. He listened intently and finally said: Yes, it's me, but I did not mean it to have any political or sociological meaning at all, but rather more a reflection of my own personal circumstances in this world."
I asked if he saw himself in a position to be able to influence or guide people through his work. Powell nodded seriously and said that it was something he was conscious that it was in his power to do, but something that he would never do intentionally. He explained that his paintings were a way for him to communicate with the world and also to liberate the feelings that threatened to oppress him. I mentioned how we had frequently discussed his paintings back in New York, especially the painting "The Warrior", his best-known work. I talked about the symbolism of the horse and the mythical beast. Powell kept nodding. He agreed that the mythical beast represented his illogical fears, the horse the individual courage of the painter to overcome these fears. He agreed also that symbolism was a notable factor in his painting.
I asked why he painted in such a way that it was so hard for people to comprehend." He replied that he painted in the only way he knew, that it was a result of his inner feelings. He said that he had always painted that way, that the result of his way of painting never quite satisfied him and that he therefore always felt compelled to keep painting.
"It is quite impossible," he went on, "to explain why you do this or that. I express myself through painting and I can't explain why I did it that way. For me, whatever I sketch I see every detail. I see the texture and the colour, and I translate and transmit it in my own way."