where the writers are
A glimpse into somewhere

As I walk slowly on the main path of street lined with different craft stands, smells of hot dogs and kettle corn waft through the air.  I come upon an artist’s stand, and one painting of a streetscape pulls me in.  A bouquet of homes comfortably nestled alongside quaint shops on a hill. 

 I wonder where that is. I really like that. 

Go ask her.

Feeling shy, I hesitate, but push myself forward.  I go to the older gentlemen sitting on his tattered wooden chair, his face a rich chocolate. I point toward the painting.  Hello, can you tell me where that is 

You’ll have to ask her.  He points to the woman who sits hidden behind a small table around from the main display of paintings.  She wears a bright yellow dress to match her pleasant personality.

Hi there, she says, looking at me from behind thick black bicycle rimmed glasses. 

Hi, I say, and then point toward the painting.  I was wondering if you could tell me where this is.

It’s wherever you want it to be, she says with a friendly chuckle.  I look on and she continues:  I stopped painting exact places because the minute someone knows where it is, they won’t buy it—they just don’t sell. 

That’s interesting, I say.  That makes sense.  When I look at this picture, it makes me think of New Orleans and I’ve never been there—just pictures I’ve seen.

People always think they recognize a place in my paintings, she says.  This one we’re looking at here I’ve actually been commissioned to paint, but I like to bring it to display while I’m still adding the finishing touches.  See all the blank spots.  She points to a few. 

Oh, I see.  I hadn’t actually noticed them before.

As she continues to tell me about this painting, we’re standing in front of it now, and she sweeps her hand across it and points to the different placeholders.  One is already there: “Tom Cat.”  It looks like a little café club.  The family is still deciding, but when they’re ready, they’ll let me know what to put in the rest of those spaces.  This is an anniversary gift for their parents, so some will have important dates and others will have special places they’ve visited. 

Wow, that’s a really nice gift.  I take a last look and thank her for her time.  She smiles and seems happy to have walked me through her work of art.

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Every picture tells a story

Aside from wondering what an artist was thinking when they painted something, I also wonder what the subjects (if there are people in the painting) or where the painting was done, or who is in the buildings (if there are any), etc, etc. It's a journey with every painting or print.

We've talked about Van Gogh before, so you know what I mean. :)

When Gina was writing her book on the themes and subjects in the prints of Utamaro, even though I was aware of the many beautiful works of art she had studied over the years, I had no idea that so many of the prints had real people in them. Gina could name them, when they were born, what they did (which were often incredibly colourful stories!!), when they died, and even how they died. Amazing, particularly as there are around 2000 prints!

I remember, when we were art and antique dealers, a particular British engraving that almost guaranteed to have people looking to decipher it's location. It was a charming street scene of Harley Street, London. People often stopped to talk about it and even to try to see the makes of cars (all from around 1916-1925) that were parked on the street, We had some great conversations about that picture. Wonderful.

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Hi Ryoma,Yes, art--the

Hi Ryoma,Yes, art--the creative is a wonderful journey; and sometimes one has a direction when they embark on it and other times there are surprises to be had.Gina's Utamaro book sounds really interesting--a masterpiece really--and a work of love is what it feels like. I looked at in on Amazon and will probably purchase it at some point.

I like your sharing about when you were art and antique dealers. It shows another wonderful aspect of art: and that is how it can bring people together through conversations--connecting to humanity through art and words, brining the inside to the outside. :)

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Thank you

..for sharing this lovely vignette, a testament to the talent and imagination of both artists and writers.

"It's wherever you want it to be..." Superb.

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Hi Lisa, Thank you so much

Hi Lisa,

Thank you so much for reading and for your comments!

p.s. I like that monkey on your back and the story behind it from your blog, "Why I have that monkey on my back".  So ture, as you say:  they are like tiny rambunctious humans that throw our own silliness back in our face.  So I proudly wear this monkey on my shoulder because I think most humans take themselves much too seriously, myself included.

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I wanted to comment on your

I wanted to comment on your paintings...and I will in a bit, Rebbecca.

Meanwhile, what this blog post says is deeply profound. We see what we want to see, we are where we want to be...Yes? Maybe serendipitously.

Now for the paintings...they are disturbing, almost mask-like and yet they are vulnerable. You know what I mean? As though they are afraid of their own ability to cause dread.

Perhaps that is how I see them. But...there is something there...


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Farzana, yes, your words

Farzana, yes, your words ring true and for me they reverberate certain parts of the Just Treading Water poem.

You provide an insight into my paintings and what is behind them that perhaps I could not see. You have certainly given me something to ponder. I think you've touched upon something. Thank you for your thoughts on them, Farzana.