Monday, June 14, 2010

The Darndest Thing

Anna and I have been searching for a college that has a great program in painting while allowing her to double major in English.  Last Friday, we made a visit to a  university that had what we thought was a large college devoted to the arts.  Surrounded by architectural models, graphic and industrial designs, we searched for evidence of a quality oil painting program.  We walked the halls of the irregularly shaped building (which to us was more annoying than innovative), finally finding an art gallery where two oil paintings were hung.

One was okay, though not remarkable, an image of a young girl sleeping.  Here, I called to Anna from across the room, here is another painting.  It was a life-sized painting of Bill Cosby, the canvas eight feet by four feet.  Naturally, your eyes were drawn to his face, not a great likeness, but good enough that Anna recognized him (it took me a minute).  He was wearing a long sleeve shirt and a pair of brown pants, title "The Darndest Thing".

We stood there, mother and daughter, evaluating the skill of the painter, until our eyes drifted downward, suddenly noticing that Bill was, shall we say, "exposed".  "OHH," we both said a the same time, turning away. Then we turned back to check that we saw what we thought we saw.  Then we laughed.

The painter certainly succeeded at the shock factor, which seems to be the point of a lot of art instruction these days.  But I'm not at all convinced that this artist had succeeded with her painting skill.  Today's artist must be edgy, "say something", and make anyone viewing it uncomfortable to be considered successful.  The works of the great masters would be considered too bland for today's art world.  It is too bad, for I feel we are creating a great number of "artists" who can't paint.

We were relieved to meet an artist and instructor this past weekend who said he could have saved us that trip - that the university in question was "terrible".  He offered to meet with us and give us a list of colleges that he'd suggest for Anna.  It will save us much time.  He also said that having a "voice" or being edgy is all fine, as long as you paint well.  What a relief it is to hear that.

I stood at the windows last night, waiting for Lauren and Anna to get home.  Before the power went out, the radar showed a huge storm coming our way, and they were out with friends to a movie.  They  had a short window of time to get home before another round.  As I looked for a flashlight, a large lightening bolt hit.  The girls got home just as emergency vehicles began stopping right at our driveway.  Our neighbor's house must have been hit by lightening.  Three large fire trucks, paramedics and ambulances lit up the road.   We stood on our front porch and tried to see through the rain.   Our house is set back a ways from the road, and we couldn't really see much.  Eventually, the lights went off and we went to bed to the rumble of more storms.

It was a very full weekend, art lessons, baseball practices and a graduation party for Lauren with four other graduates.  It was a very nice party and great to see friends. She is working hard to prepare for her final recital as a high school student in July.


Travis Erwin said...

I am certain the write school will come along and you both will realize right away it is perfect. Kind of like house shopping.

whitetr6 said...

The crap that passes for art...unbelievable. I'm confident that Anna's talent will lead her to the right school


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