Paint-by-Number

doberman hydrangea-Edit

“That looks like a paint-by-number my grandmother did,” said a man in a hat. He wore a grey raincoat and could be cast as a subway flasher, Envy thought, as he seemed the tiniest bit shifty.

“I can see how you might get that impression,” she said. She looked around for the server with the tray of white wine. Exhibit openings always attracted fresh new art aficionados, or at least those who could tolerate modern art and who liked free wine, which was ok with Envy as long as she got her fair share.

“This one is $670 though,” said the man, not taking his eyes off the small painting, which was a representation of two doberman pinschers in front of a blue hydrangea shrub.

“Framed,” said Envy.

“Does the frame cost $665?” asked the man.

Envy wondered where the featured artist, Francesco Brown, had wandered off to. He was a thoughtful and precise man, and could likely engage the man in the hat in a startling and enlightening conversation.

The pianist had started playing ragtime, which Envy detested at that particular moment as it clashed with her mood and, she felt, with the paintings on display. She signalled to Meghan, her assistant, who didn’t notice, as she was swiping at a blob of cream cheese which had dropped from a canapé onto her blouse.

“Francesco Brown,” said Envy to the man, who had turned his head to stare at her when she hadn’t responded, “paints in a somewhat primitive, two-dimensional style as a way of connecting with past sensibilities and in response to the current trend of what he calls multi-media ‘meddling’.”

“He does, does he?” said the man. He took his hands out of his pockets and Envy, in momentary panic, feared he would suddenly expose himself.

“He can explain his aesthetic better than I can. Why don’t I find him for you?” She looked around again for the tray of wine.

“Not necessary,” the man said quickly. “I’ll take it.”

“Take it?”

“I’ll buy it. This one. The dogs. It reminds me of my grandmother. She was the only one who never asked me why I collected sticks. Plus, it has a nice frame.”

Envy insisted the man in the hat meet the artist, who was charming and drew out from the man that his name was Edward, he lived in the neighbourhood, he had a dog named Cleo, he didn’t drink, and he preferred to pay by cash rather than a credit card, which made it awkward for Envy, who didn’t want to put the “sold” sticker on the picture until the money was safely in hand.

Edward didn’t seem to notice, or care, that there was no “sold” sticker on the painting of the Dobermans with Hydrangea. He said he would drop by the next morning with the cash and seemed confident the picture would be wrapped and ready to go.

But he did insist on a cup of coffee at the Starbucks next door after the event ended at nine pm. Envy agreed, and a coffee with a client was a good excuse to duck out and leave the closing up to Meghan, who hadn’t been much help at the exhibit otherwise.

They chatted briefly about the obvious topics: the exhibit (well-received), the artist (not as flaky as expected), the attendance (solid, including at least one arts writer from a small local paper), and the sales (satisfactory).

Then Edward said, sipping on his black coffee, “You are dying for a glass of wine.”

“Not drinking makes you an expert?” said Envy, a touch prickly.

“In a way, I guess so,” said Edward. “I always liked a drink after any kind of exhausting activity.”

“What kind of exhausting activity?”

“You know, like the end of a project, a speech, a big sale, lovemaking, anything emotional.”

“To be honest, I could murder one,” Envy admitted.

“I won’t keep you,” said Edward. “You just seemed interesting. Not like the women I usually meet.”

Envy stifled a yawn. That old line. She possibly got it more than most women, since she was, by any objective standard, not particularly attractive. She instinctively looked at her watch, then blushed at the inadvertent impoliteness.

“Sorry,” said Edward.

“No, I’m sorry,” said Envy. “I’m not bored, honest.” Not yet.

“Is that an engagement ring?” Edward asked, indicating the glittering tri-ruby ring on her left ring finger.

“It is,” said Envy with a sigh. “Though I don’t know if I am really engaged.”

“What’s the confusion?”

“I have the ring, but not sure if I want the marriage,” she said. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this.”

“Because I’m safe, anonymous? I have a kind, trusting face?” suggested Edward.

For a flasher, thought Envy. But she found herself continuing, “We love each other, we do, we should get married.”

“But?”

“He thinks I’m not over my first marriage.”

“Oh. Are you?”

“Definitely, but not over the man,” Envy said. Yes, that was it. The worst combination of feelings for an engaged person ever: cynical about the institution of marriage and still clinging to the connection with the ex. Shit.

“Selfishly, I can’t help but think that puts me in third place at the very least.”

“Amazing, isn’t it, how someone who looks like me could have an interesting love life?” Envy said, much more harshly than she intended.

Edward gently set his coffee cup down and stood to his feet. “It’s been fun, Envy, but Cleo can’t walk herself, so I should run.”

Envy rigorously decided against being embarrassed or regretful, and held out her hand. “Thanks for the coffee, and see you tomorrow.”

“Right,” said Edward.

Whether he would show up at the gallery to pay for Dobermans with Hydrangea or hop the subway in his raincoat was anyone’s guess.

 

Imperfection

Prompt: The Artist’s Eye


Hello Wednesday,

Two of the framed artworks that hangs on the walls of this home got here in rather strange ways.

One I purchased at a silent auction— it is a large abstract piece with a compact multi-coloured blob in the centre in shades of fuscia, green, and royal blue, which you could say compete with the other colours in the living room (warm reds, woods, muted yellows). You could also call it …imperfect. Yes, that’s the word. It ended up on my wall because as I cruised the silent auction goodies, I noticed that no one had bid on this imperfect work of art, so lovingly created and so generously donated by the artist to a good cause. So I entered my bid. Sometimes silent auction items need a kick-start.

Naturally mine was the only bid, and I don’t buy art and put it in the garage. So there it hangs, just around a little corner so it’s not always in view, which is fine with me.

The other work of “art” was discovered by some builders in the old garden shed of the old house that used to sit on this property. This is an oil painting, a landscape in muted, muddy colours with a mountain and a tree, no doubt the masterpiece of previous owners. While the contractors were busy with the renovations, they placed this painting on the mantle of the fireplace.

When we had our house-warming party, all the builders and tilers and tradespeople were invited (they did a splendid job) and as a kind of inside joke, we framed and hung this sincere painting on a prominent wall. They just loved it!

Yet years later it still hangs there, in a gilded gold frame, flanked by two lovely watercolours. Why? I don’t know. It reminds me of the excitement that surrounded the building of this new house, and the thrill of the first few days and months in a house that was all ours and with no notion of pulling up roots ever again.

Imperfection and sincerity. There could be worse words in an art critic’s vocabulary.

Related to art and the artist’s eye, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon-this-artist-is-a-deeply-religious-feminist-and-anti-smoking-advocate-who-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9182535-8419447

cartoon-you-rarely-see-this-kind-of-joy-for-under-ten-thousand-new-yorker-cartoon1

cartoon art ask not tell


See you tomorrow for Throwback Thursday!

~~FP

 

Gritty Meatballs

Prompt: Visceral


Dear Wednesday,

I admit, my reaction was visceral, from the gut, when I was informed that we would have four guests, three of whom I’ve never met, staying with us for over a week while they attend an athletic event (as participants). I’m still recovering from family reunion week, for heaven’s sake (and recovery realizations are pretty glorious… intently savouring every quiet moment of no-one-else-ville).

We all need to learn to control such reactions, or at least not to trust them, necessarily. My reaction was not instinctual, it was a purely selfish response to what I perceived as a burdensome lack of privacy. But was it?

They are lovely people. They train hard, and buy provisions, and are charmingly appreciative (the English accents don’t hurt).

Now they are visiting friends overnight, and I was astonished how much I missed them. The house suddenly seemed a lonely cave.

I also admit I am confused.

Allow me to present a few of my favourite cartoons, the first of which is tangentially related to today’s Daily Prompt, visceral

cartoon art sucks


cartoon gritty meatballs


cartoon send more roc


Savour every moment!

~~FP

Before Prozac

Prompt: Polish


Dear Wednesday,

When I attended my niece’s wedding in May, I thought it was appropriate to have a pedicure and manicure as the finishing touches to my outfit. Some women wear polish all the time… I wear toe polish in the summer, and finger nail polish for weddings. When I die, my surviving family will have no need to dress me up. Weddings only.

Now the nail polish is chipping and it looks dreadful, like an old house with peeling paint.

When I remove it, my nails will breath– literally. Apparently polish suffocates the poor blobs of keratin. We should be kinder to keratin.

And with polish out of the way, here are a few of my favourite cartoons:

cartoon licking plate


cartoon prozac cat


cartoon not bad for art


Have a happy week!

~~FP

Wheatpaste

Prompt: Specific

Here’s a fun vandalism project for you to try this week. Make some poster-sized art, mix up some wheatpaste, head downtown and find an interesting bit of wall space, and install your work on the outdoor gallery that is a city. Be aware that this is indeed considered vandalism in most situations, and the wheatpaste art is almost impossible to remove cleanly. So, maybe don’t do it after all, unless you are Charles Leval.

Artist Charles Leval, aka Levalet, exhibits his ingenious, site-specific wheatpaste art on the streets of Paris, using existing abandoned installations, cracks, garbage, decaying and crumbling walls in obscure corners of the city to apply his drawings. Next time I go to Paris (ahem) I will definitely seek out some of these unique art pieces. Here is a small sampling:

levalet-w-dog

levalet-shredder

levalet-cameras

levalet-xray

See more of Levalet’s images here.

Culture and Day 29

Prompt: Culture

culture-the-priest

Culture is the prompt today. Hello, Culture, are you being a good word today? Are you colourful, fascinating, inclusive, ethical, inspiring, and spiritual? If not, go away.

Yes, I’m exhausted on Day 29 of NaNoWriMo. I will reach my wordcount goal, but not the main goal of having a coherent story to share.

Tomorrow when I officially upload my 50,000 words, the universe will rejoice. Or, no one will notice, and I will be disappointed that I didn’t accomplish what I wanted. And work a lot harder next time.

Thank you for all the amazing support and encouragement!

 


Pungent and Day 27

Prompt: Pungent

art-smells

Red wine vinegar has a pungent smell, and so do gorgonzola cheese and cigar smoke. A back alley or urban tunnel can have pungent odors too, of garbage and piss. What else is pungent besides smell?

I don’t know. I only know that on Day 27 of my NaNoWriMo novel, I still don’t have the murder scene organized. That’s because I changed the identity of the person to finally be arrested and charged, and it relies on planted evidence. Also, the murder has changed from premeditated to somewhat spontaneous, and who takes a large knife on a walk in the park? I might have to change it back to premeditated, but I do want to hold onto some shred of sympathy for the murderer, and that’s hard when someone plans a bloody homicide.

My next Nano novel will be about unicorns and rainbows. …Pungent, gangster unicorns maybe, and rainbows made of acid rain drops. As you can tell I could use a dose of sweetness right about now.