Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man – Episode Two

Having done no portraits in eleven days says something about my current mental state.  Not a lot admittedly, but…

At breakfast – which is our primary conversation setting.  I mentioned my wanting to get into the painting for which I bought the bottles of acrylic a while back.  I’m sort of in the mood… but I don’t know what to paint.  I think Kay was a little befuddled by a person wanting to do something without knowing what the ‘something’ is.  I explained that I’d like to get the watercolor sheet covered with a blend of colors like I’ve seen as the background on a couple of my Facebook friends’ paintings, but having no inclination with regard to what I would portray on top of that, it’s hard to get going on it.  Maybe requiring ‘portrayal’ is the problem.  I guess it’s a personality thing, like exercise – I could never get into it – but give me a basketball with a hoop nearby and that’s a different story.  It’s like, ‘g-g-gi-give m-m-m-e th-th-e b-b-b-b-all, a-and l-l-le-t’s-s g-g-g-et g-g-g-go-ing!’ a memory from a bygone workday experience.  I suppose once I got into the process something might p-p-pop into my head.  In discussing my malaise with Kay, I explained how I’ve come to see my drawings as lesser images of the photographs from which they derive.  What’s the purpose?  Maybe it’s associated with having inserted blurry images into Ai programs and watched as a finished product pops out the other side that is better than I could do.   I see the paintings of my Facebook friends; they are quite marvelous without attempting realistic duplication; they demonstrate real creativity.  Mine don’t.  I think I might have been more creative in the past, but I’m not sure of that either.  Maybe it’s because they are artists and I am an amateur.  It doesn’t matter why.

Kay is a reader – in addition to being into bridge playing, water aerobics, and doing the majority of the work around here.  I enjoy hearing her descriptions of the characters in what she is currently reading.  She says, “It must be difficult to get all the characters to interact so naturally; it must take a lot of research.”

Yeah.  I think about it and confess aloud my lack in those departments with regard to the novels I wrote – now so far in the past.  “With the significance of cloning in my novels, I ought to know a lot more about it than I do.”

“Do they do that anymore?” she asks rhetorically.  “Remember that movie with all the clones” she asks, obviously trying to come up with a name.

Dianne Keaton comes to my mind in the attempt to identify her brother who played all the clones in the movie.  “Keaton,” I contribute to the conversation.

“The last version was not as good,” she says.  “Remember?”

“Yeah.  Every copying process loses some resolution was what they were trying to say.”

“But do they do it anymore after the sheep?”

“Dolly,” I say.  “I think there are legal issues – certainly with humans.”

“I used to think I would like to have a clone of myself”, she says.

“I don’t know,” is my addition, “I think it’s the experiences and memories that makes an individual who they are.”  I think of the term, ‘existential’ but opt not to use it.

“I’d raise her differently,” is her concluding comment.

“I’d like to start writing again,” assuming the cloning topic is now in the past, “but I can’t think of anything I want to write.  I’d like to write about a character like _________, but it would have to be written without description of the person other than his interaction in events.  That takes more subtlety than my writing skills allow; I’m more just stating what I see as psychological facts about the person than showing it by behavior.  I wish I could do that.”

We’ve been done with our breakfast for some time.  The dog has busted through the dog door several times after the squirrels and crows to whom we feed peanuts; once he could have grabbed a squirrel in his jaws, but he tripped over himself avoiding that eventuality.  We both laughed.  Earlier our ‘feral’ cat, who must certainly be owned by someone across the way in the development because she wears a flea color, came to the slider in the breakfast nook where the dog door gets inserted whenever our daughter is to bring their dog over on a day when both she and hubby work long hours.  But the dog is already here and standing just inside the dog door as the cat meows on the other side.  He is so obvious about behaving himself that it is very humorous to witness in such a rambunctious fellow.  I bend down and flip the dog door open in case the cat wants to come in.  She sees the dog and the fight-or-flight instinct flares up with every black hair perpendicular to her body surfaces as she backs away from the door and then leaves. Kay and I congratulate Nebilli on what a good boy he has become.

The long breakfast is over.  I come back to the office, which had been nothing but a ‘computer room’ until some time ago I decided it deserved a better name, and began banging away at the familiar keys.

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