Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Much like Zola knew Cezanne (they grew up in the same town, and were fast friends for a long time before Zola wrote his book The Masterpiece). I knew a painter once. He wasn't a natural genius when it came to painting. He went to your typical school of Beaux-Arts, and learned his craft much like the rest of us do. However, he did have some natural talent he just chose to use it painting. Not sure it was his "calling" or it was just something he decided to try. Either way he became very adept at painting small landscapes and still lives. Nothing too complex, but something that did take some skill. It was always my opinion that after a while he started to "settle" painting things that he knew would sell enough to earn him a decent living. Needless to say, this opinion caused a little friction between us, but it was not anything earth shattering. My friend painted this way for about 3 years when one day he was offered a "commission" to begin painting larger, more complex types of painting for someone with a little too much money, and a desire to appear cultured by being a "patron of the arts." My friend thought long and hard about accepting this commission. He was content, for the most part, doing the paintings he knew he could do as well as anyone else, and was not sure that this "patron" could fulfill any great desire of his. In fact, I think that my friend did not really have any major desire to be a great painter or anything else for that matter. He was just simply a very smart, fairly talented guy that just sort of cruised through life. It was at times very frustrating being his friend. Being the less talented sort, and seeing your buddy with all this skill just easing along through life. Eventually, my friend turned down the commission to become "someone's lapdog" as he put it, and continued to paint the paintings he knew he could accomplish with his eyes closed. I was furious to see my friend turn down something I felt he was extremely qualified to do for no "real" reason made me want to strangle him. Being the type to let my feelings known I told him that he was being a fool, and cutting his nose off to spite his face. His response, and the last words he ever spoke to me (we have not talked since) were "It is my nose, and it is my face."


Lindsay said...

So, if he wants a comfortable and stable living why does it bother you so much how he uses his talent? It's talent that is allowing him to live the lifestyle he wants to...isn't that everyone's dream? To be able to do something that allows you to live the way you want to?

tideliar said...

You can't live other people's lives for them, as much as they may need you to sometimes!

Cynnie said...

wasted talent isn't new..
and he's totally right..its his nose and his face.
I try to accept people for what they can offer at that moment in their lives..
what ifs and shoulda woulda couldas will make you insane

Lefty said...

Just saw your last blog - "Terrence this is stupid stuff" is a favourite of mine..

The Grand Inquisitor said...

hmm i think i may have missed the mark rather badly with this post.