Bitch on the Blog

June 18, 2017

Shades of white

I am no good at drawing. Which is rather surprising since I come from a long line of people who actually made their living painting.

My father who inherited that most remarkable talent – though never made anything of it because he was more interested in pursuing other interests, once helped me out. I was about twelve. Our art homework was to do a portrait of a pirate (water colours no less – the smudge’s devil of all inventions). We had a few days. The worse and the more dreaded the task the more it’ll spoil not only your life in the interim but you’ll put it off to the last minute (deadline by another name). (Un)fortunately my father passed my desk (Sunday afternoon) as I was putting the finishing touches to a half hearted attempt at conveying both the cliche and the menace of a pirate (Johnny Depp my creation wasn’t – it was before his time). So, in a moment of charitable (or was it) intent, my father chucked my effort into the nearest waste paper basket and conjured up the most magnificent pirate ever. Took him zero time – not that he meant to ram home that I most certainly had betrayed the creative family line (on both sides). Not at all. He was far more interested in taking all my essays and other writings apart – even if they rated A* by assorted teachers. You want to know what my father called my teachers? Don’t. Repeating it would be flying in the face of my genteel upbringing and the manners my mother instilled in me.

So Monday was grand. My art teacher’s face lit up. He studied my father’s effort in detail. He was chuffed. He smiled. At me. After an artfully executed theatrical pause  he said: “Do tell your father that, on account of fraud, I’ll only give him a two” (a one being top mark). After that I can’t remember anything. Other than that I was always tops in the theory of art and art history. Brush to canvas? Forget it. Why would I? Know thy limitations.

Not to sell myself short and as befits my temperament, I did and do passable caricatures (of people). That’s about it.

As Karma has a way of biting you unawares,  most nearest and dearest to me, friends and assorted family, are masters of their chosen art. Occasionally forced to remind them, ever so tactfully, we can’t all be artistes. Some of us have to be the appreciative audience. The ones who do the clapping, the stroking of ego, the catchers of tears, the slayers of tantrums, the ones who write the critiques, facilitate you, marketeer your stuff.  And, BUY IT.

Whatever you do, please do not talk to me about gallerists. It was Basel/Switzerland, ca. 1997, when I fell off my chair on learning that a gallerist (the marketeer and provider of large swathes of wall and the monied) will take a  cool 66 % off your sales for services rendered.

Titanium white greetings,





  1. As late as my teens I used to sketch to much appreciation from family, friends and my arts teacher. I gave it up when I had to start making a living and eventually married a renown professional artist who could, sketch, paint, do batik and play the piano as well. I never dared to sketch anything in that sort of company. It is a worthwhile skill to have if not for anything else, to doodle while in boring meetings.

    Comment by rummuser — June 18, 2017 @ 12:40 | Reply

    • Yes, doodling, my dear Ramana, An artform yet to be elevated to the echelons of what is considered to be art. Though – of course – doodling is so very private. On business calls – for reasons I’d rather not explore – I never doodle. Give me a private call – I will doodle. Unfortunately, and so limited I am, it’s always the same doodle. Daisies arranged in a neat circle round a central point. Overriding impression of it all being round. Round, Ramana, no hard edges. I surprise myself. And, the more daisy circles the longer I knew the call was.

      It’s an interesting subject you touch on: What if someone with talent hitches up with someone of greater talent? By which I don’t necessarily mean through marriage. I have seen friends, close friends, split over their “art”. Animosity rising. Say, in their late teens, next age group mid to late thirties. By older age they’ll either be reconciled or stay foes till death does part them. For reasons one may consider interesting it’s a peculiarly male thing. Having said that, I once upstaged a (female) friend for some part in a school play. I didn’t even want the part. Nothing could have been higher on my NOT TO wish list than being forced into the lime light. The reverberations were regrettable. Still, and both to give her due and good on her, whilst she shed me in some misguided huff she made it in the world of theatre and film.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 18, 2017 @ 13:30 | Reply

  2. My artistic talent is second only to my musical talent in its total non-existence Fortunately a broken finger that was not properly taken care of ended my attempts at guitar playing. Drawing? Very limited – but I was decent at pen and ink drawings – as long as the content was not too complex. Now music appreciation is an entirely different matter. ARt appreciation? Not so much. As a jock I took art and art appreciation classes. My fave artist was Hans Holbein. I enjoyed Van Gogh’s work – the colors were amazing and since I am somewhat color blind I suspect that is why. But in depth analysis of a piece of art simply is not in my makeup.

    Now pirates? I love a good pirate movie – LOL. The Crimson Pirate with Burt Lancaster was an early favorite.

    Your prof’s comment made mehink of a situation in HS History during a test. I was tapping answrs to the test to my friend in front of me – 1 tap A, 2 taps B etc. I tapped an answer and from his corner of the room came a loud voice – “No McConvey – that one is tap tap tap”.

    Busted – LOL.

    Comment by Chuck McConvey — June 18, 2017 @ 13:58 | Reply

    • Yes, Chuck, what you are saying resonates with me. To appreciate art – in your case most particularly music – doesn’t mean we have to be a Beethoven. Mozart will do. How often do I think how much you and the Angel have in common? You two could talk (and listen) music all night long. One of his current plans to drive the whole from Chicago to New Orleans, Mississippi Tennessee. Hope I got that right. Essentially, on the trail of the Blues. He was in New Orleans late last year. Made him realize that Blues rather than Jazz have him in their spell. Though, of course, one may wonder where blues ends and jazz starts.

      To me Chicago means one thing and one thing only (apart from all the other things) and that is prohibition, gangsters with white socks in black patent leather shoes and Some Like It Hot. I love that film. Most particularly Daphne (Jack Lemmon) “I am a girl, I am a girl, I am a girl” reminding himself, lying next to Monroe, that he is, to all intents and purposes, a girl. Sometimes to rein yourself in is a survival skill.

      Got carried away there in reverie, now having lost my initial thread. Yes, your broken finger. Some people do make a virtue out of deficiency. Please do remind me of what I just said should I ever lose my eyesight. In my late teens, one of my three circles of friends, the much loved yet rather trying and tiring arty farty one, decided that I should be initiated – if nothing else – in how to play the guitar. LSF (longest stand friend) drew the short straw. He was amazingly patient and probably enjoyed sitting next to me more than teaching me. As much as I loved him, and I do to this day, once i realized that that type of playing the guitar came at the sacrifice of my soft finger tips I was done. Instead I married a violinist.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 19, 2017 @ 10:06 | Reply

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