Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Jug and Rope"

The people in the suburban town where I live are not too friendly. As I go along on my daily run I will generally say hello or wave. A lot of the time I get no reaction or the people turn away before I get a chance. I know it's not me because as soon as I cross the town line people are waving, asking how I'm doing, smiling, etc; My theory is that most of the people in my town, grew up there; they bought their parents house, or moved onto the same block, and anyone else is considered an outsider. I ended up moving here because my wife grew up here and wanted to move back. There are a few exceptions. One of them was this elderly gentleman a few blocks down who always seemed glad to see me in all of the six years that I've been in the neighborhood. I noticed in the last few years that he was wheelchair bound and his daughter came to live with him, I guess to take care of him. She seemed a little out of sorts, she reminded me of Little Edie from Grey Gardens. After a while I didn't see the old fellow and I guess he must have passed on, because little by little I started to see things put out on the curb that must have been his. The last time I spoke to him he jumped up out of his chair and said "it's good to see you, I've been watching you run past my house for twenty five years!" So I guess he was going a little senile. I was running past his house a few months ago when I saw this rope sticking out of the pile, I thought it would be interesting to paint, so I ran home with it. My neighbors are used to seeing me come running back with stuff; once I came running back carrying a couple of old saw horses that I used to make a bench. As I was drawing the rope I started to think what this fellow's life must have been like and how the rope had been worn smooth with use and how it must have calloused his hands as he used it to tie his boat or tow something or whatever. I guess he died the way most of us would want to go, in his own home, not in a hospital. I'm not the type of painter to do themed still lifes. I generally respond to light and color and form, and this one isn't any different. It's not a vanitas or memorial. It's just that I kind of miss seeing the old dude on my daily runs and I thought a little about him while I was working on this painting. Anyways, this ones for you, old timer, I hope you like it.

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