Friday, April 12, 2013

Oil on Canvas

Part of what I like about art is its relative permanence.  We're still digging up 2,000 year old Roman marbles.  No, the other kind.  Centuries-old portraits (dead people, mostly) hang in galleries that thousands (live people, mostly) visit every day.

Even after the world changes, after people come and go, the brass tacks of the thing is that it's just about impossible to toss granny's oil painting hanging over there.  No, art - and we're talking real art, not some clown filling up a twobahfour with 16 penny nails and angst - art isn't disposable in any real sense.

So this year, in lieu of some harebrained story of the very dear and still very departed First Mate herself, I'll try something a bit different.

I mentioned this a long time back, but one of my most treasured possessions is an oil painting of Belle the Dog by my Aunt Dana.  It hangs in my bar, out of sight of most visitors.

It's a synthesis of two photographs (neither of which I have digitally right now, sorry).  In one, a fairly young pup stands stock-still in my dad's growing corn, obviously convinced there's a quail to be scared up just ahead.  The other is an up-close of an older, but not too much older dog with the unraveling and stringy fringe of hair characteristic of her breed.  

The corn appears to be planted in beach sand, and indeed that's just about the exact consistency of the land I grew up on.  In.  Whatever, it was a little of both.  The rows shoot out at a diagonal from the viewer's eye.

So to the man on the street, it looks a bit like a short-lens landscape of two nearly identical dogs, one a bit younger than the other.  It reminds me a lot of the way-too-expensive antique print we almost bought in London, labelled SETTERS AT WORK in stoic block letters.  (I've never forgiven myself for not plunking down the MasterCharge and shipping it home.)  It hung right in the middle of Harrods where they have the £100,000 Persian rugs they let you walk on.  No kidding.  So essentially a 911 Turbo you can't drive, but can spill popcorn on.  I'm rambling.  Sorry.

The painting.  We were talking about a painting.  Have a look at the texture created that gets the hair just right, and Aunt Dana's absolutely precise, almost eerie, representation of The FuzzenFarce's eye, right down to the big white lashes.  And by all means don't miss my very favorite part, "D. MORGAN" disguised as the fine, orangey hair of Older Belle's neck.

Well, that's all the time we have for this year's Remembrance of Sweet Old Puppy Dogs.  Hope you enjoyed it.  See you in 2014, everybody.


Anonymous said...

Havent ventured out to this port - or blog in a while. glad I did. Love the painting of Belle. That is awesome. Kids are getting big! (both yours and mine). Was out towards your motherland last weekend headed out to Tyler to camp. Made me think back of the time we went out to your parents house. good times...

Donna said...

That is a beautiful painting- how wonderful to have such a talented artist in the family! And Belle was certainly a beautiful subject. And I agree on the rug thing- we actually bought one for waaaaay too much money (for us) once because I loved it and it was my Christmas gift. I brought it home and as soon as the kids walked in the room I said "I can't do this- they are walking on money- I'll be a nervous wreck with this in the house"- and we took it back!