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Quitting While I’m Ahead

No, I’m not quitting my blog, or abandoning my project. What I am referring to is my project tonight. I wrestled with the devil, by that of course I mean perspective, and I caved. I am in the midst of planning a birthday gift for my Dad’s eighty-first birthday, which is a week from Thursday. It involves many photos of his favorite subject, which happens to be him. I feel slightly guilty making fun of him since he isn’t feeling well, but he has a great sense of humor, and I kid because I love, and he loves…himself…I really can’t help myself. I’ve mentioned the Natalie story (for those of you who may be unaware, short story is I look like my Dad, so I look like Natalie Wood. His idea, not mine). If you are as old as me, or have studied ancient history, you know that at one time in the history of man telephones were attached to walls, and had cords…gasp!  Imagine being a teenager and wanting to talk to your boyfriend, you would stretch that curly cord until it was a straight as possible as you pulled it taut to get around a corner, out of parental earshot. My Dad pulled it tight as well, not so that we couldn’t hear him, but so that he could look at himself in the bathroom mirror as he talked. We of course, being the family of merciless critics that we are, made fun of him for it. He didn’t even try to deny it. He would just get a self-satisfied smirk on his face.

Back to our regularly scheduled project…my painting for this evening. As I was looking at all the old family photos on my computer I came across one of my Mom that I love. In 1957 my Mom and Dad were married in Toronto, Canada, and had their honeymoon at Niagara Falls. It was really beautiful then, of course the Falls still are, but the area around them hadn’t yet been developed by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and Madame Tussaud’s, and the endless souvenir and t-shirt shops. In this particular photo my Mom, who never had a shred a of confidence looks like the coolest chick around. She was really cute. My Dad, not so much at the time. He grew into a handsome Clint Eastwood look a like later in life when he actually gained a little weight. I told my Mother that she was way too cute for him, thankfully she didn’t share my opinion or I obviously wouldn’t be here. I’ve never been the “cool chick”, I was the clumsy chick, the nerdy chick, the artistic weirdo (my Dad, once again), I was never a cheerleader, or a sorority girl, I was just me, always striving to Never be like anyone else. Being an individual is important to me and always has been. My Mom looks like she could be Rizzo from Grease in this photo, or at the least one of the Pink Ladies. I never saw her that way, I saw a lonely, very wounded woman. I like looking at this picture of her and thinking about a time in her life when she felt empowered, or at the very least that she thought she looked really cool.

In high school one of my artistic classmates did a painting of herself and her little brother using only shades of gray, with the exception of a fish, the fish was painted green. I loved it, still do when I think about it. I always wanted to do a painting in those shades, I think hers was oil, mine is watercolor. It was a little more difficult with my watercolors, but it captures the essence of my Mom.  Where I quit was the background. I mapped it all out, sketched it in, it was an elaborate cement rail with pillars, and I screwed it up again! Watercolor isn’t always the most forgiving medium, had it been oil or acrylic I could have fixed it, so I quit while I was ahead. I liked the way the figure looked, and quite frankly was afraid I would ruin the painting. Perspective-1, Me-0. It doesn’t mean I’m giving up the fight, just the round.9 1

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