It may not be a masterpiece but I still like it and that’s all that counts

Wendy ‘fessed up the other day. It’s OK. It wasn’t for a terrible transgression involving late-night cocktails with a business colleague who was unknown to me. No, that I could have handled. 

What she did confess is that she has always hated one of my paintings. Man, that stung. It’s one that has been hanging in our ensuite potty for a number of years and I have always enjoyed lolling in the Jacuzzi and pondering the thoughts it evokes within me. 

Well, the painting evoked thoughts in her. Indeed it evoked emotion. And the emotion it evoked was ‘depression’. “I know you like it,” she said, “But, I’m sorry. It depresses the hell out of me. I find it stark and unfriendly. You have taken one of the most beautiful scenes of my experience and turned it into something forbidding and angry.” 

Well, shit, I thought. Here I was being experimental and adventurous and slightly abstract and all I did was prompt a feeling akin to pondering the railway tracks leading to Dachau.

The actual setting for the picture is Kauai. Along the front of a meadow that runs from the condo at which we normally stay off towards the ocean is a row of ironwood trees. They are stark and rather black in hue, quite unlike all the lush tropical growth that abounds in the place. They’re tall and tough trees that can easily undergo the rigors of a major hurricane, like they did with Iniki back in 1992. The winds hit but the trees surmounted. That’s impressive. So, my painting was designed to pay homage to their stalwartness. 

And that’s what it does, in my esteem.

At the end of it all I remedied the situation. I replaced that work with one she really likes. Furthermore, even though painting is slightly ego-involved, I wasn’t offended by her comments. Indeed they only made me study the painting more closely so that I could see her point. And indeed I can see her point. 

For, indeed there are paintings that I have done that I dislike, too, and they don’t hang anywhere in the house. I am arguably my own harshest critic, and that’s a good thing.

On the other hand, I still have affection for the painting in question and will simply hang it elsewhere. Maybe its day will come. Critics loathed Van Gogh’s Starry Night, which is one of my favorite paintings of all time.

Meanwhile, after mucho procrastination I have gone back painting again. It feels good to again have brush in hand.


9 responses to “It may not be a masterpiece but I still like it and that’s all that counts

  1. I think it’s the stark contrasts that do it, that make it a bit forbidding.

    And congrats on taking up that damn brush again. It was about time.

  2. I agree with Jazz: I think it might be the contrast between the dark, dark trees and ground against the lighter blues of the sky and water that make it depressing. But where will you hang it now, knowing that Wendy doesn’t like it? The garage?

  3. It does look a bit foreboding, but I kind of like it. You handled this well and I too think it was worthwhile if it got you to resume painting. I hope you’ll share your efforts here.

  4. I could live with it, and that’s for sure. I think it is terrific.

  5. It just needs a little addition or two is all. Maybe George W. in one corner peeing on a tree, and a few Looney Toons characters on the water, partying it up in canoes. And dogs playing poker. It’s not really a painting without dogs playing poker after all. But you’ll want to be original so make them around a tangerine-coloured pool table with cigars.

  6. I really like it! The branches of the trees almost seem to be reaching out of it. I’m glad you’ve found somewhere else for it.

  7. I really like it and don’t see anything depressing or stark about it. It makes me think of an illustration that could maybe have been in a school literature book. It would be a simple tale set on a tropical island, maybe told from the perspective of a young boy. Exotic surroundings, but a classic story. But that’s just me and I like the painting.

  8. I like it! I really must pick up a brush again one of these days. Perhaps you’ve inspired me . . .

  9. I too really like this Ian. Love the sharp contrasts and the subtle but pleasing abstract quality. Hope you paint and post many more 🙂

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