My family and I had a bit of a reunion for the first time in a good long while over the weekend and Thanksgiving. Being sick of turkey after a while, we went to a sorta-fancy place together for dinner one night. And thanks to the very accommodating staff, I can report with careful attention to detail, form and protocol that the rules for crayons at the table is that they go willy-nilly between the salad knife and main-course knife on the right-hand side of the plate, to the left of one’s seat-mate’s bread plate.
In point of fact, though, it was a wonderful dinner and a wonderful time together. And thanks to these crayons being here, I got to experiment in a lot of different ways with the help of two of my youngest cousins, who graciously switched over to Matchbox cars and action figures part-way through the meal (Matchbox cars go to the left of the water glass and the right of the dessert spoon ‘above’ the plate; action figures go between the salad fork and the main course fork. In case you were wondering). And one of these cousins of mine even kindly agreed to sit for his portrait, as you can see below. I am never going to be a Gilbert Stuart, I’m afraid. But then, he worked in oils and I’m working in borrowed crayons, so it’s perhaps a problem of media.
As you can see, I am still troubled by getting the proportions of the arms down correctly. His arms are too long, and his head is maybe too big for his body. But one of my art teachers exclaimed in excitement, the first time I included part of the background around my work, “What a marvelous development you’ve made! To include the background!” Apparently this is a major point of triumph in any artist’s life… when they’re asked to paint a picture OF something, or draw it, and they remember to include the background and side details. Major accomplishment. Not so much for me, of course. I’ve been doing this for years, and I have no excuse for not including this kind of detail. You are forgiven, though, if you’ve only just started to draw.
I wish I’d thought to draw in all the crayons, too. But he was getting antsy to have his pad of paper back, and his crayons. The uncle had clearly had enough time on his hands to make a hash of things, and prove he was better than the “young Turk”.
Maybe someday this will be a framed ancestral portrait on the wall of my cousin’s grandchildren’s house. Somehow I doubt it, though.