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.