I’ve mentioned once of twice before on Bud’s Blog that sometimes the whole blogging thing seems more than a little narcissistic. We write about whatever is going on in our lives … or going on in our heads … and throw it out there into the blogosphere assuming it will be of interest to someone. I suppose the same thing could be said about writing a book, except that there are supposed experts between the author and his audience as an arbiter as to the merits of his efforts. Then again, on Facebook no one even seems to care if what they post is interesting.
For the last month or so, I’ve been posting some of my paintings, mostly from my art journal. That feels even more narcissistic than posting my words … or even my photos … and I’m not exactly sure why. Partly, it’s because most of my paintings were exercises in self-discovery, not really intended for viewing. Maybe I’m afraid you’ll see some aspect of me in my work that I missed, some strange psychological quirk. To some degree, it’s work that was done without any notion of good or bad … although, I admit, I do choose the better ones from among the hundred or so in my sketch books for posting. It’s actually a nice surprise when someone really likes something I’ve never shown to anyone. Is that narcissistic?
There’s another reason I’m sheepish about posting my art. When I was starting my Freshman year of high school, taking Latin, I asked my mother if I could speak it around the house (yes, we were expecting Julius Caesar for dinner). You can, she said, but only if you don’t show off. When I was in eight grade, already a junior scientist, I was sitting around a campfire with my Dad and uncles. Anxious to impress, I said something about what was happening at the atomic level to the wood. My uncles razzed me for fifteen minutes. I can still feel the hot flush of embarrassment on my cheeks when I think about it. Yes, indeed, we didn’t show off in my family.
But if I’m going to saddle my Mom with my shyness about posting my art on line, then I need to give the Credit Due for my artistic inclinations. I’ve said before … for her time and economic position … she was a renaissance woman, a stay at home mother who listened to and read about classical music, who had books of prints by the great artists and who took oil painting lessons. I wish I had some of her work to show you … she was very good. She was also generous with her oil painting equipment (which cost a pretty penny) and her time to teach me how to work with oils. I did two or three paintings during my first few years of high school that hung in our living room along side of her paintings and several watercolors by my father’s uncle. When my Dad moved out of his house and into assisted living, they came home to California with me. This is one of them, painted with my mother’s paints … and her guidance. This post’s for you, Mom. Honest … I’m not showing off.