Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sentence of The YEAR

Subtitle: Open Mouth Wide, Insert Both Feet

T'was the day before Christmas Eve.

TreatieL and WeldyL came over, bringing a fun guest with them: KnocksYourSocksOff, to whom - in the name of syllable rationing -we shall refer to as Knox.

We had a great meal at one of our favorite restaurants, Ginger Cafe, where TreatieL made sure the waiters there won't forget her (it's a habit of hers...), and came back to our house for a post-dinner hang out, or as The JohnnyB put it in his hospitable way: "Why are you following us into the house?".

There we sat and sipped a The JohnnyB home-brew, talked and laughed and chatted and laughed and laughed and laughed. A lot of tongue fencing was going on, with The JohnnyB excelling himself again and again, exchanging deadly jests with TreatieL and Knox. WeldyL and I chose to take the fifth, as we could see we stand no chance against them.

At some point, TreatieL spotted a pair of charcoal drawings I did 3 years ago as an exercise in a basic drawing class. To me, they are successful technical exercises, but she gasped with awe, "You did THOSE?". WeldyL (an incredible welding artist) and I started to complain about how no matter what breakthroughs you make or what major progress you do as an artist, some people will always tell you "Ah, I like the way you used to paint before much more".

As we were discussing this existential issue, Knox stood up and walked towards the kitchen. With starry eyes and all the sincerity in the world, he said:

"Hey, you know which painting is my favorite? I really like THIS one!".

Took The JohnnyB and I a while to recover from the fit of hysterical laughter. The JohnnyB's was hearty and joyous, while Mine was mixed with deep offense...

...'coz Knox, who stood there with an innocent expression on his face (maybe for the first time that evening), was pointing at a one of the framed watercolor paintings on the wall. A wonderful dark painting of an island, mostly in muted grays except for some golden yellow shapes that stood out. A great painting. Definitely a work of art. Only... it's a painting by an East German artist from the island of R├╝gen, that The JohnnyB's bought when he went with his mother to visit her birth-place in Germany.

So - of all the paintings in our house, Knox liked THAT one the most.

As in, a painting I did not paint.

Needless to say, the level of joy went high (way TOO high, if you ask me!), with Knox, whose face turned an intriguing hue of a deep rich red (Perylene Maroon comes to mind), trying to make up for his faux pas, saying "Ah.... this is even worse than 'I like the way you used to paint!' This is like, 'I like the way you used to paint when you did not even paint'".


Later, I mentioned my pottery period, when I was failing to do one decent pot, and my pottery teacher commented with sarcasm, "You know, Nava, it's so interesting that so many experienced potters take years of pottery and struggle to reach the freedom that you seem to have right away..." (meaning - I suck!).

Knox sat up full of piety and fury, and said "I so disagree with the fact that someone else had the nerve to tell you to stop doing art!!!".

"Yup", said The JohnnyB, "you'd rather tell her yourself!".

And so, for next year, I wish that one of MY paintings will be someone's favorite.

Or, I can simply take down all the non-Nava stuff...


Valerie said...

Hi, Nava: Just face it some folks would prefer Kincaid to yours - it's their lack of aesthetic sensitivity not your skill that's the problem!! Of course I don't know the red-faced guy anyway - perhaps he wears pinstriped socks with spotted pants - pink and green??

Anyway - I still think Picasso would love to have done your Sad lady"

Nava said...

Valerie, you are very sweet, but in fairness, the watercolor that Knox favored is actually a real good one - a very abstract landscape, dark and moody - you'd like it too.

By the way, I am utterly shocked that you thought we'd have a Kincaid hung in our house!!?!

Smiler said...

Ouch, that had to hurt, no matter how silly the guy is. I got that sometimes with the magazine I was working on - a friend or relative would thumb through and say "I like that!" and point at an ad. Which... I did everything BUT the ads of course. I just put it down to their utter ignorance. I've learned you always have to take criticism AND compliments with a grain of salt. Still... ouch, yes.