Saturday, October 3, 2015

Giving the Enemy Credit

It's interesting how things that happen to you make you who you are.

I just found out that I didn't get into the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art Drawing show. I submitted the most edgy work I had when I saw that the juror was a big-time muck-ty-muck from Ess Eff. When I didn't get accepted I looked at the list of accepted ones and googled a few. I could see why I didn't get accepted. I am not even in their league. Those people have imagination and balls far greater than I. Mostly balls. A drawing from one of these guys was a few smears of black on plastic paper. They're the people who are in the museums and galleries and when you leave one of those places you remark to yourself "I wish I had balls like these people." or "I wish I had nerve enough to do that." Some have obvious skills. Others have little true skill but balls the size of New York City.

Then I remembered one of my teachers. I remembered James Lechay. He was one of my drawing teachers at the University of Iowa.

James Lechay or your grandmother. I can't tell which. No, it's Lechay all right.

He looked like somebody's grandmother but he was formidable. When he walked into class on the rare occasion you hoped he wouldn't notice you because if he did it was like being exposed to nuclear radiation. He could dissolve you.  Thank god his teaching assistants mostly taught the class. His teaching assistants taught me principles I use to this day. When it was time for critique Lechay would show up. You were turning to jelly as he coldly flipped through your drawings. I remember one critique and one critique only. He flipped and then he said "This is pedestrian."

What the hell did that mean and how did that help? After a while I came to the conclusion that he was probably right. What else could it be? I had just come from the cornfields. I didn't know anything. I just had some facility but nothing else. His comment just about killed me. It also made me angry. I was determined to show the arrogant bastard that he was unbelievably wrong.  So I applied myself so hard that my fingers, hands and arms hurt. When class ended I was covered with charcoal dust head to toe. I eventually went on to get merit scholarships. I got straight A's in all my classes. Even his.

Then life took me on a detour away from art and I followed it for reasons that are still mysterious to me. I think if I had not followed the detour I would be right up there with the edgy artists accepted into the Marin MOCA drawing show. I would have balls the size of New York City.

But I didn't and I don't.

Truthfully? I've gone back to doing pedestrian stuff. Good stuff. But pedestrian nonetheless. It's OK. It's sort of like I'm starting over again and one must start somewhere to get somewhere else. My engine got cold while I was off doing other things and now it's just beginning to warm up. See, I'm in this for as long as I can do it. I know I'm starting over late but that's OK, too. Better late than never. I have that scoundrel James Lechay to thank and while I'm at it I must mention my dad and my ex-husband in the unimaginable bastard club. I have to thank them for helping me hone my warrior spirit. One must give the enemy credit for providing the conflict. Great are the uses of adversity.


  1. Or you could be glad to be living in the real world instead of being a whackjob artist, who takes herself wayyy to serious, thinking you got it all figured out, whilst looking down upon the commoners.

    1. Oh I would never be that! ;-)

      You have a point. In the art world it's a constant fight to stay real. Come to think of it, it's a constant fight in the world, period, to stay real.