The crumpled wad of heavy drawing paper arcs through the air, collides with the ceiling, rebounds off the wingback. And finally ends its journey alongside the corner wastebasket. Nothing but net!
I anchor another sheet of paper to my drawing board and refocus on the iconic photograph that graced the 1953 cover of Life Magazine. And start over….again. This time I try drawing Marilyn’s eyes first. Scratch, scratch…scratch, hmm, did I draw her left eye a little low? Can I make it her chin? Yeah, that works.
You’re probably wondering why a famous columnist would ever take up art, especially one who thinks “acrylic” is two words, as in “one crylic,” and doesn’t know the difference between palate and palette, except that one is a workout class for girls who hate yoga. Scratch, scratch…oops! Erase, erase. You might think it’s because drawing beautiful women is more fun than writing about them. Okay now the other eye. Steady, steaaaady, this time draw it above the chin, scratch, scratch…Whoa, easy on the eyeliner. And you’d be right, but it’s not as easy. Hmm, they look a little too close, and maybe a little bit crossed…? But kind ‘a sexy. In fact, making my Marilyn look like “That Marilyn,” and not Marilyn Manson is close to impossible. Crumple, crumple…nothing but net.
A few years ago, I was reading Snow White for the infinitieth time to my 3yr old granddaughter. And as I turned the page to a full shot of Snow White, Ledare slapped both hands on the page and shouted, “Boss, I want Snow White for me.” I slipped on my “decoder hat” and realized she wanted a drawing of Snow White and she wanted Boss (my grandpa name) to make it!
Good Luck. Look, if you want a portrait of happy face on a lunch bag? I’m your man. And with Ledare’s help I’ve colored countless coloring books — that’s my work between the lines, not hers — but, draw Snow White? Really? Well, why not? Maybe I can’t control the outcome but I can control the effort. So, I put writing on hold and went all in on becoming an artist.
I was relentless, watching YouTube videos, sharpening colored pencils and filling wastebaskets non-stop. I even thought of cutting off an ear! But couldn’t decide between the deaf one, or the one I can’t hear out of. One day our pal Gail Vail (a real artist) came by to talk to Big El (another real artist) about The Lake County Juried Art Show at The Artisans Village in Eatonton, and happened to look at my Snow White 2.0. Gail was kind with her comments and asked if I’d thought of taking art classes. “What,” I exclaimed, “and have to start as a beginner!!” Gob smacked, and having no rejoinder, Gail slowly turned to Big El who just smiled and said, “Welcome to my world.”
Many months and many, many creative attempts later, just in time for Christmas — fait accompli. Ledare unwrapped her gift, and studied it with wonderful big-eyed amazement and proclaimed: “OH, Boss…it’s Snow White!”
To the only critic who maters…I was an artist! How cool is that? Today, “Snow White” hangs proudly in the loo next to Ledare’s bedroom. “The loo.” I like that; it sounds like Le Louvre don’t ya think...only better.
So that’s how a 3yr old got me to take up art. But today my bumbling’s with Marilyn have taken me away from the drawing board and back to my computer spell-checking “pallat” for this column.
“How’s the art career going?” Asks Big El, as she navigates her way through the minefield of “art wads” littering my office floor, expecting to see something more than the nothing currently filling my drawing board. “Does the fact that I’m writing my first column in almost a year give you a clue?”
I don’t know how, but she ignores my snarky comment--I must be slipping—and informs me: “You know the Art show submissions deadline is this week So, what’s up with Marilyn?’ I point to the clutter in the far corner. “I was reaching for Artsy Fartsy and came up with Phony Baloney. Only God can make Marilyn.”
Big El starts back down the stairs, but then laughing, gives me this form over her shoulder. “Hey, maybe Ledare will lend you her Snow White?”
Not surprisingly, I didn’t make the deadline, but Big El has several pieces in Lake County Juried Art Show, and its open to the public until Sept. 8. Go see the wonderful works your neighbors have created. Oh, and just because I didn’t make the deadline does that mean I didn’t sneak Snow White into the show? Keep looking, she’s there somewhere…try checking the loo.
Go see the wonderful works your neighbors have created at The Lake County Juried Art Show. It’s open until to the public until the 9th of September. And no, I didn’t make the deadline. But is that good reason to keep Snow White out of the show? There is a back door into the Artisans Village, leads to the kitchen…hardly ever locked (wink, wink). Snow White is there, so look for her. She’s there somewhere. No, not the kitchen…keep looking.
Did you check the loo?