Every since I popped out of my mother I have been going to art museums with my parents. My dad has forever been fascinated with art. A very long time ago my dad began dabbling in art of his own.
One day we woke up and he had painted clouds on our hall ceiling; another time a golf hole on our entry wall. And so on… and so on…and so on…
He was hospitalized for 10 days in the 1990’s with diverticulitis and grew tired of looking at the same boring bowl of fruit on his wall. Every day I saw him he would say, “I can do better than that.” So when he left the hospital he began painting actual paintings. Mostly modern stuff, like Rothko, but we loved it. He had quite a knack for it.
Then after he retired, he started taking actual art classes and fell in love with doing portraits. The walls of my house now have beautiful portraits of those I love. Except for portraits of me.
Ok, there are a couple of me… with other people, but my dad cannot for the life of him capture me like he does everyone else.
Tyler’s portraits are fantastic.
Emily has so many paintings of herself, she needs more wall space. AND they are spot on. It is as if it is a photograph.
He has been painting Sarah for the past 2 years, and she looks like she could walk right out of the painting into my arms.
The portraits he does of himself, well, he looks about 25 years younger and has zero lines on his face.
But me? Not so much.
So on Christmas Eve he whips out his camera and says to me, “I need someone to paint. I want to paint one of you.”
Me: No no. I am not looking good today.
Dad: You look great. C’mon
Me: No no. Use a summer pic of me. I looked better then.
Dad: Look at the camera! Stop making that face.
Me: I am bloated. My make-up is running. I have sleepy looking eyes. Not today. Have you not heard how my recent experiment with gaining weight backfired on me? No!
So I started thinking about the Mona Lisa. What was she thinking when she was sitting for Leonardo? Did she like her portrait? Do you think she said, “Hey Leo! I haven’t lost all of the baby weight yet, be nice.” One wonders…
Now, you are probably thinking that I am being a snot. But, trust me, I am not. Even my dad will admit that for some unknown reason he paints me about 10 pounds heavier and he just can’t “get” me.
Do you know what happens when he can’t “get” me? I do. He will pop over to my house eleventy hundred times to look at my nose. Or my cheekbones. Or my chin.
It doesn’t matter if I am changing a diaper, or making dinner. When he wants to look and “study” my nose, he needs to do it now!!
The best is when he calls me up and asks me this:
“Are you sure your nose turns up? In person it does, but in a photo it doesn’t.”
Hey dad, not only does my nose turn up, but so does my middle finger… see?
So last night I am getting ready for bed when I get a text from my mom with a picture of my portrait attached and I immediately call my mom back.
Me: He gave me a fucking hump on my back!
Mom: Yeaaaah. You see, you’d have to see the picture; it is really your shoulder. He is aware of the hump.
Me: It doesn’t look like me. And I don’t have a hump.
Mom: I know. He is still working on it. He likes it.
Me: Good because it will be hanging on your wall.
Mom: I know.
Nonetheless, I will probably end up keeping the painting, hump and all, even if it doesn’t get fixed. It will be a good reminder to sit up straight.
Just another gift that keeps on giving.