Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Deuce

Making ends meet is sometimes no picnic. Thus I find myself helping a friend out with a photo shoot. Easy money, by and large. I'm the food stylist.

Crikeys. the much-missed crocodile man would say, how the mighty have fallen. But that's not the point. The point is that part of the process, above and beyond buying the food, is eating dinner with my friend and her client. As if this wasn't enough, the client brings her husband and six-year old son.

As luck would have it, we're seated at a rectangular table for six, with the adults on one end and me and the kid sitting, facing eachother, at the other. Crikeys, I'm thinking, how the mighty have fallen.

But the kid does have some crayons and that's to be applauded.

So I say to him, "Do you want to know how to draw a face?" I do this knowing that someday, much the way my now quite-old uncle talks about teaching John McCain to swim, this kid will regale people at cocktail parties about the time Geoff Raymond taught him how to draw a face.

He nods, so I hand him a green crayon--emerald green is my favorite color--and tell him to draw the number two.

What he puts down on the page is such a crappy rendition of a two, all lumpy and asymetrical, that I am trembling from fighting the urge to grab him by his little lapels and shake some sense into him. Instead, I lean over the table and whisper: "Listen, you little shit. If you don't come up with something a little better than that, I'm going to poke your mother's eyes out and she won't be able to find you next time you are lost."

That, I can assure you, put the fear of God in him. The next two came out smooth and round and just fine.

All smiles now, I instruct him to put one dot in the middle of the upper curve of the two (which, in fact, forms the bridge of the nose and the eyebrow on the left side of the drawing. When he does that, I tell him to put the other dot where he thinks the other eye should go. Bang--he hits it on the nose, so to speak.

"Now a smile," I add. And he does so, smiling. He's smiling because he knows the secret. The deuce, if you will.

You can see the secret at work in my painting of Michelle A.


You can just see how a big, lush two, with some stylistic flair along the baseline, makes up the left side of her face.

What I like about this painting, though, has more to do with the right side, and the whorl of lines created by the curve of her fingers, her eyebrow, and the fullness of her lower lip. It kind of draws the viewer's eye straight to her left (your right) eye...and I am awfully fond of that faraway look.

Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord ... as Mick Jagger would say.

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