Legacy

Today I met with Ollie, an art collector that saw “Legacy,” came back to see her again, and finally purchased her.

Legacy is a strong, maybe you would even say a brutal work. When asked if I could come to the gallery and meet Ollie I said yes. I was curious to know who would buy such a Edvard Munchian-like work.

I was asked about the inspiration for the painting. Art is personal so usually I defer, not wanting to pollute the viewer’s perception by insinuating my experience upon the image. But Legacy was inspired by a story from one of my books, Farewell to Egypt.

My grandmother tended to be critical of my mother, voicing her disapproval of my mother’s looks, choices in men, etc., eith sugar coated passive aggressiveness.

It hurt my mother but that didn’t stop her from doing the same thing to me.

I realized how subliminally the behavior had etched itself on my soul when one morning my stepdaughter came to breakfast having experimented with hair color. She had bleached a thick stripe down each side of her face to a color identical to her skin, instantly doubling the real estate of her face. I stopped chewing, dry toast and egg standing at attention in my mouth.

“What do you think?”

I felt my female ancestors clawing their way up my throat, grappling for control of my tongue so they could look into that innocent face and sweetly tell her what a craptastic mess she had made of her hair.

This, after all, is part of my legacy.

Amazingly I started chewing again. I swallowed the lump of masticated toast and egg which helped me choke down the regurgitated bitterness of my ancestral bile.

“Absolutely fetching,” I heard myself say. And her beaming smile, if not her ‘do, was exactly that.

Oh, and Ollie? A true original. He brought a magnificent craft stout from a brewery he sometimes helped out at and served it with dark chocolate. A perfect pairing–for art, stories, and a sultry New Orleans December day.

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