“The light….the light”
Lisa is here. She keeps darting away to the end of the barbecue, I can see her crouching under the otaheite apple, hear her muttering and occasionally screaming in a state of high excitement. This is familiar behavior from her last trip and the one before. Its still quite hard to have a conversation, like talking to a whirling dervish.
“I can hear you” she shouts.”Go on”… What was I saying again?
“Look at this!” she shows me a picture of her own feet crushing the improbably colored, impossibly colored, Schiaparelli pink blossoms under the tree.
Lisa is an artist, which by now, you have probably gathered and one that I am always glad to show my work to because she stands up to me.
“That chair is too big.”
“No it isn’t, I’m actually quite pleased with the chair.”
“I’ll prove it to you.”
She tears a bit of newspaper and rubs some grey paint on it and sticks it over the chair, temporarily covering it up on the canvas.
“Come back here with me and look.”
A revelation. I had been wondering why I couldn’t bring the painting to completion.The chair was stopping the eye from circling round the picture, holding the eye of the viewer too firmly in its well-painted grasp. If I removed it, the painting would be finished.
Another visiting artist friend mutters
“I was trying to tell you that, Judy.”
“Yes, but she made me listen.” I’m so grateful as I scrape out the very chair I was proud of and sacrifice it to the greater good of the painting.
I do this for her sometimes too. Its really just being a fresh eye but so rare and as painters dwindle down to a precious few, so precious.The balance has to be sensitive as well as practical in order to be helpful , coming from an understanding of what the artist is trying to do rather than dismissing the whole exercise with a common and garden
“It looks alright to me” or worse,”Well I think its just fabulous. So, how long did that one take you?’
Apart from painting Lisa cooks. My kitchen counter becomes her studio which is at times quite annoying.
“Why don’t you paint somewhere else for a change?”
“Because the blue tiles reflect the clouds in the sky outside the window.”
“Oh….well….. O.K then.”
Lisa mirrors so much in me that I find completely natural. and validates by sharing it with me what I find most valuable in my life.When she is around I see why The Others react to me the way they do, although I learned long ago to repress this side of me and keep it well hidden from the exchanged looks combined with widened eyes and slightly shaking head which I so often caught to my dismay, when I was younger.We are not crazy exactly, which is the generic explanation, just very absorbed in a different set of priorities and puzzled by the indifference of others to what we find important and equally bored with the enormous list of sensible requirements which we find unnecessary. Its comforting for both of us to spend a couple of days on the same wavelength and a huge part of this shared wavelength is about food, which we eat first with our eyes.
That we can’t have the pumpkin because it hasn’t been painted yet seems perfectly normal to us ; the food is selected for our eyes first and tastes better because it is eaten twice.
To be a painter looks so easy and the rather ruthless ignoring of all the other things that would keep you from it in a day looks so “selfish” to others. This selfishness is judged harshly by the people outside of our cocoons, the ones who feel that as we are doing what makes us happy anyway, we can’t expect to make money too, because then we would have everything and that would not be fair. They won’t listen to our struggles, shutting out our piteous cries with an implacable question
‘WHO TOLD YOU TO BE AN ARTIST ANYWAY? YOU ARE UNREASONABLE AND I HAVE NO TIME OR SYMPATHY FOR YOU.’
Painters know and only painters, the enormous price that is paid daily for their freedom and that is why its so important, so comforting to have a Friend in Painting.
Welcome back Lisa.