Friday, April 1, 2011

My Life as a Painter

My life as a painter began in mauve. I stayed with mauve for a long time. Eventually, and feeling frisky one morning, I ventured into blue. I was dazzled. Here were endless possibilities I had never considered. Blue offered a breezy change of pace from mauve, and so mauve suffered. I neglected mauve without meaning to and I eventually had to offer penance. But I wanted to conduct additional experiments so I took one color at a time. I was not gentle. I forced myself upon these colors like a corsair in a Caribbean brothel. I indulged myself. Red fascinated me. I am quite fond of red. But sometimes when I’m in a blue mood I might choose orange. I’m not trying to be difficult.

Green offered a soothing earth-mother tone but perhaps in these cynical times green is out of fashion. But green has a purpose. One must ponder green and come at it logically. Yellow is green’s evil twin. Side by side they are brawling brats, snotty and puffed up with arrogance and egotism. But if you consider them separately they offer a calming influence. Unless you use too much yellow. Then you’ll have a problem. Too much yellow and your retinas burn. Too much green and you suffocate. One must tread carefully here.

But what the hell is it? There might be something that resembles a rock. Is that a tree or a vegetable? But those dark birds look familiar. In Art Speak lingo therefore, the dark birds perpetuate a hint of Van Gogh, but gently, whispering existential odes, and fundamentally rash with a late Twentieth Century gloss of animal magnetism tainted by sorrow, but perpetually. Certainly it must be illegal. Socrates would have the bastard’s head.

The mauve understood. It was always mauve, and then blue. It was like opening a window. A breath of fresh air in broad brush strokes. Mauve and then blue and red and green and yellow. I can’t talk about gold or lavender. Van Gogh loved yellow in Arles. Tomorrow I shall paint a nude and perhaps a cockatoo. I might paint the cover to a pulp magazine. Clarence has just come into the room. He glances at my paintings disdainfully. “You goddamn writers are all alike!” He snarls. “You’re weird! You always have to have the last word!” He’s right, of course. In my pocket is a dog-eared copy of Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara. “Why good Lord, Irish!” Clarence exclaims. “Can’t you see these paintings suck?!” I hastily explain that my latest work, titled The April Fool Upon a Sunny Landscape (11 x 14 acrylic on canvas) is destined to make me a fortune, not to mention critical acclaim. Certainly it must. Right?


  1. Tom! I might have guessed you are a painter! I am surprised I didn't ask you about the possibility of it! I once lived a few houses away from the painter Cheri O'Brian. Her canvases are mostly bright colorful affairs with unusually shaped people and dogs and landscapes that look like the trees, the mountains and river behind our houses. I was surprised she was a painter because she was so diminutive and shy. When I talked to her about her paintings, she gave me a tiny smile and said "Painting is an opportunity for quiet people to make noise..." I will probably never forget that!

  2. That's a great quote! I looked over her web-site and I clearly have a long way to go before I can paint as well as her!


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