Friday, August 20, 2010

Park Parking Lot and Pig Story

Only time for a charcoal drawing. More tomorrow.

When is a painting like a pig? Here's a story that I have 'borrowed' from Steve Allrich, whose book on oil painting I have been reading:

Speaking of making a living as a painter, it ain’t easy. There are as many reasons for this as there are stars in the sky (well, maybe not quite that many), but I had an experience almost 20 years ago that I believe gets to the heart of the matter.

I had set up my easel on a country road in Vermont, in front of a small, picturesque farm. My subject: dappled light on a derelict, old flatbed truck parked in a sea of weeds, with a decrepit barn behind it (I love broken-down stuff. Paging Dr. Freud).

While I was painting, a farmer (the owner of said farm) drove by on a tractor, hauling manure (draw your own conclusions). We nodded warily at one another, and he chugged by without a word. He subsequently drove past me at least a dozen times as I painted and never said a thing, although I did catch him glancing suspiciously at my painting once or twice as he passed by.

I finished, and was packing up to leave, when he drove up, shut off his tractor and asked to see the painting. He liked it (to our mutual surprise) and asked how much I wanted for it. I thought for a moment, and then quoted him a dirt-cheap price. After all, he’d been nice enough not to shoot me; and I figured that if I could leave with enough cash to fill the car with gas, buy lunch, and put a down payment on a couple of tubes of Cadmium Yellow Light, I’d be happy as a clam.

When he heard the price, the farmer looked at me like I’d just questioned the virtue of his only daughter. He snorted in disgust, hacked a slimy wad on the pavement and said, “Hell, I could buy a pig for that.” Then he started up his tractor and drove away.


Donna T said...

Hahaha! Thanks Bob. I needed that!

Bob Lafond said...

Donna, Check out Steve Allrich's site. His book was published 1996. Interesting how his paintings today are quite different from those that illustrate the book.

loriann said...

That's a funny story Bob. I like it. Strange how people feel we should almost give them away.

Steve Allrich said...

True story. Every word of it.

My paintings have changed, but not that much; the reproductions in the book are terrible.