Friday, April 23, 2010

I painted 'Flame-red' across the edges then smudged and left.

I see her paintings up against the walls. The few piled on the floor aren’t easy on the eyes. They will sell for less. The brush strokes are too impartial and heavy on the canvas. There is strain in the details and you can see she was impatient at the time.  I am no art critic but I have a good eye (she tells me).  Favoritism is interesting.  But if I were to say biasedness is interesting we have a problem.  The correct word is ‘bias’ but I will justify my sentence by reason of style. At least I am not in politics. 

I see she painted her chipped nails black. She pointed towards me. She gestured waving to come over and meet people, she knew people. I scratched at the skin around my nails and waited. It is commonly told that people who tend to bite their nails are nervous or upset. I was neither but I was restless.  I turned my shoulders down as though I was concentrating on something on the floor.  I could see from the corner of my eye she was still in the distance and continued to gasp at her words and wave her hands about in delight.  I always thought she bubbled her words.  I am not sure if you can say that?  But it was like each sentence began with the bottle cap of a soda popping off while bubbles and sound floated up towards the surface. Odd analogy I know but this was it, it was always a little odd.

She started to sound a bit muffled as she paced around the room.  I looked around, she had gathered a crowd of people around her. I watched her black ponytail bob up and down as she explained something I couldn’t quite hear.  I moved slowly around the room with my head tilted towards the right.  I watched a group of students on a guided tour, stroll past each painting with one or two stopping to scratch down notes and show their appreciation.  Do we pause to acknowledge that we have been affected by what we see? I am not sure I have always walked a little aimlessly concentrating more on the blurb below. I stood there in the corner reading her descriptions I have always needed the summary of words.

We were slowly ushered into the second room. The temporary plasterboard walls were painted ‘prime-time’ blue. I stood close to the edge of what soon became a passage way from the back of the room to the stage. There was a track of metal halide lights suspended above the stage. I was happy to notice no flickering of red and blue beams but a constant warm white. As I stood on my tip-toes I could see instruments sitting up against each other but nothing else. I moved closer to the right wall to avoid the constant stampede of liquid filled cups and shuffling feet. I watched three people to the left of me, they stood three abreast. They wore plaid vests, dark green pullovers and a look that gave a feeling of not trying. Their movements kept me looking to the left, a constant nodding of the head, rigid back and swaying knees. Strange but oddly suitable. After eighty minutes all three walked down the corridor three abreast and sat outside on the grass patch. I ambled along behind the rest and waited outside, there was a gathering of groups sprawled across the open grass.

I still had one of her paintings clutched under my arm. It was bulky and the squared corners keep prodding me in my ribs. I kept it covered with an old sheet from my car and then left with the painting.  The next morning I found the painting on the floor pushed up against the side wall. Her fingers had stained the edges a dark orange.  I found a trail of ash and chain-smoked cigarette butts left in a broken coffee mug outside. I liked this painting. I climbed up and left it leaning against the wall high on top of a chest of draws.  I locked the door behind me, left the keys under the coffee mug and left for work.

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