Art Conservation

I am not what you would call a harsh critic of my wife Penelope's work.

I think it's damn great - all of it - and I'll repeat as much to anybody who will listen. She seems to appreciate having such an outspoken publicist, but it hampers my credibility somewhat when she asks me to comment on her latest piece.


"Love it!" I'll say, walking closer to the surface, studying details. "Ooh; there? With the bluish color on top of the other thing, with the... yeah! Rock on, baby!"

"Really?" she asks, her eyes searching mine.

"Oh yeah! Definitely. One of your best."

"Really? Because I'm kind of thinking it sucks."

"No way; not at all!"

"Yeah. It sucks. You hate it."

"I opposite of hate it."

"Yeah. I'm painting over it. Right now."

"Don't do it!"

"I'm doing it."


At this point I'll generally leave the room. I go into the kitchen, or somewhere, flipping through the mail and shaking my head, retracing my steps and wondering what I could have said differently, where a rephrasing might have helped.

Occasionally I peep back into the studio, to see what she's up to, and she'll be in there working away - sketching out new ideas, or redrawing a section of the painting, or feverishly smearing the whole canvas in white gesso, a pained, intense expression on her face that dissipates slightly with each brushstroke.

"There," she'll say when she's finished. "I feel much better."

"As you should!" I respond. "It's a masterpiece! All that white? You kiddin' me? ...Brilliant! I'm calling The Louvre right now - what's the international calling prefix for France?"

"You pipe down," she says, flopping into her favorite chair and sifting through her magazines, poring over page after page of award-winning paintings and illustrations the artists' spouses managed to talk them out of destroying.


Anonymous said...

this made me snort tangerine and grapefruit flavoured Crystal Light out my nose. But it was a good snort, a snort of recognition.

Just so you know... conversations of this exact sort happen all the time in the House of Wee too, and not only in relation to my art. Frequently, the same conversation takes place vis a vis wardrobe and jewellry.

xo Wee

Anonymous said...

P.S. Does Penelope really say "pipe down?!"