Thursday, June 30, 2005

Still Life, with Pans

Mr. McGee is a talented amateur artist. He comes from an arty family. I draw like a particularly spastic two-year-old, so anything that comes out of his pen is amazing to me. He's doing pencil sketching right now, with pencils that all seem to have complex code-names - 2H and 4B and so forth. I get sent to buy things at the craft store, where I spend a good 20 minutes a trip comparing all available pencils and ensuring I didn't pick out the wrong code-named pencil. Did you know there are like 40 kinds of art paper? I didn't. Things go terribly wrong unless I have very specific instructions - the kind I give my husband when I send him upstairs to grab me a pair of shoes. ("Black strappy sandals - in the blue box - the lighter blue box, not the dark one, with the black lid on the box, probably on the second shelf on the left ... ")

Whenever Mr. McGee draws something, he turns to me for an opinion. This is the moment that makes my gut clench in terror, because my opinion is pretty much, "Wow - that really looks like a hawk." Or a horse. Or a flower. Or whatever it's supposed to be. Because, frankly, making a drawing look like anything is so far beyond my powers that I find it amazing. But he wants comments on technique. Light and shadow. Pencil control. I hate to disappoint him, but the extent of my art knowledge is "That's pretty" and "Um ... what's that?" and, of course, "Wow, that looks like a hawk!"

But I am an art lover, so long as no one wants more from me than, "I like it because it's pretty" or "I like blue." This is actually an opinion I gave in polite (and worse, professional) company: My mother-in-law is a professional artist and when we visit her, we go to galleries and look at other artists' work, and sometimes I get asked for opinions by artists or gallery owners who are all talking shop. This invariably makes me freeze and once, when asked my thoughts on a particular piece, I offered the stunningly brilliant observation that "I like blue."

It was, in my defense, a piece with an awful lot of blue in it.

So as long as my opinions don't have to venture beyond pithy observations on the predominant color in the composition, I am happy to support the arts.

Lately, however, my husband has ventured into still-lifes, and he noticed the other day that the good skillet and the cookie sheet and a mixing bowl, standing in the drying rack on the counter, had fairly dynamic lines and dramatic shapes, so he began a still-life sketch of the objects on the drying rack.

The thing is, it's now six days later, and I'm still not allowed to take the skillet off the drying rack. The still-life study is not yet complete.

I love art as much as the next guy - but do I really have to sacrifice my good skillet to the cause?

1 comment:

Bob The Sane said...

Ye gods I know from whence you speak. My wife is has an actual Art Degree, from a Real College.

My take on what makes 'good art'? If it LOOKS like something. If that something is RECOGNIZABLE.

DON'T paint a bunch of squares and call it art. All you've shown is a mastery of 3rd grade geometry. If the art you create actually LOOKS like something, and can be figured out by the average Joe without someone having to explain it, then you have succeeded. If it can only be deciphered with some sort of bizarre 'artiste' Rosetta Stone, then you, my friend, are an idiot who wasted thousands of dollars on a supposed 'education'. Get a job at McDonalds. That's about what you are good for.

But I may be a bit harsh.

...

Nah, I AM harsh. Deal.