Sunday, June 8, 2008


o go down in the street and make a painting on an easel with the whole world watching was never one of my great fantasies.

True, I had made some charming Magic Marker drawings of New York townhouses, and even Trinity Church when I was working down on Wall Street. That was before I became “professional”.

That was before I left ITT. I enrolled in art school just when all the flower children were getting home from Woodstock. It was the “do your own thing” era and I was gonna do it.
Through Bruce Dorfman at The Art Students’ League my eyes were opened to the abstract. “Easel painting is no longer relevant,” he said as if it were gospel, and I was a believer.

I was still painting from imagination years later when photo-realism was hot. I loved Paul Klee and it showed!

Then, how did this turn-about happen? It certainly wasn’t reflection, contemplation or desire. The grace of God maybe.

I had just gotten the bad news that my pay from Education National would be delayed a month. It was, they explained, “an oversight.” I was already down 200 francs on my bank account after writing a check to EDF for 700 to keep the lights on. That normally took four days to clear. Colmbani was on my back for the rent. I promised him sans faute the end of the month. I was in trouble.

In a trance-like state I walked to Picola Italia on the rue de Vouillé. Fausto, a friend, and the owner used to give me a good deal – 30 francs for a plate of pasta and a small jug of bad wine. He had been a good collector of my work when he was still a waiter at Montparnasse. Now, like all the French commerçants, he complained constantly.

I sat there in quiet anguish as he strolled around doing magic tricks for his clientèle. The waiter had just served one of Fausto’s special dishes – pizza aux escargots – with the shells! As always it made everyone around laugh. He looked my way.

“I think I’ll make a painting of your restaurant tomorrow.”

“C’est une bonne idée.”

There was hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Ruby chez la princess from