Wednesday, August 29, 2007

August 14, 2007 - White Bear Lake, MN...



Take a moment and try to think of the most flattering thing that a stranger could do for you. Go on. Think about it.

Would they...name a drink after you? Carve your likeness out of ice? Or maybe give you birthday greetings on a gas station billboard?

How about this one...They call your mother, informing her that they painted a picture of you and that it's on display at a hospital in town.

Mom and I went to check out said painting, without expectation or pre-conceived ideas when...heading down the hallway that hosted this woman's other paintings, we spotted an oil painting no smaller than four feet wide and three feet tall of a young girl who looked awfully familiar.

Sure enough, in an ample kind of way, it was the pictoric likeness of yours truly sitting at a ficticious grand piano, donning a floor length gown and some serious Bananarama hair.

"Without a doubt, that's me..."

This really was a funny moment. Truly. I just stood and stared for a few minutes. The question that came to me immediately was why this woman wanted to paint a picture of ME? I was at once fascinated by whatever it was about this twenty year old likeness of me that compelled this artist to put paint to canvas.

Although she took a few liberties with the setting, the composition of the picture was familiar to me. I had played in a competition and a newspaper photographer took a photo of me. It appeared in the paper the next day. Many years later, the artist completed this painting based on the photo and it has been traveling with her exhibit for years.

I couldn't help but to feel profoundly flattered. I blushed right there on the spot. Nurses passing by stopped to ask me if I was buying the painting for a daughter who played, or something like that.

"No, actually...that's me..."

This painting freezes a time in my musical life that was truly unfestered by expectation, fueled solely by the mystery and discovery of what every new song presented. This was that beautiful point at which I had enough physical ability at the bench to say something that hinted at sophistication and yet I didn't know enough to know that I knew very little about so many things. I just cared about expressing emotion. The technical stuff was secondary. So much so that I would just pick and choose which parts I would learn to play and which ones were going to get in the way, if I tried to tackle the technique.

I don't know where this painting will end up fifty years from now, or if it will survive that long or longer. But the thought of this painting, this snapshot of such a beautiful embryonic moment from my life, hanging in front of my children, grandchildren and (heart be still) beyond takes my breath away.

Living with passion, curiosity and clarity. That would be a legacy to be proud of.

1 comment:

Gabi & Jolie said...

Now this is just a shame. Ever since Sydnie met you she's been working on a portrait all her own. Her canvas has been her highchair table, and her medium, applesauce and bananas, but the inspiration, undoubtedly the same. Proof, that art begets art.

I am breath taken, but not surprised.