In the last two days I've had two similar conversations each with a man I don't know, and they in turn don't know me, particularly. They don't know my name. They don't know what I do. They don't know that I am an artist. And whilst I was having these two conversations, 26 hours, and four miles apart, they both used the same phrase to me. They didn't know that, since they don't know each other, and can't possibly be related. It was a phrase that they used that they were used to using, and was the natural thing to say to me, once they had asked me what I do, and I reply, simply " I am an artist." And their reply? In unison, was "My uncle is an artist, he sells his paintings for a lot of money". "Really?" I ask, semi interested in their version of "Lot of money" and wonder what they actually mean by it, and casually ask how much of the first guy. And the reply, was a good one "Fifty" and just as I double check that he doesn't actually mean fifty, he confirms and says those lovely words ".....thousand" and I nod in understanding. And then, the other guy tells me his uncle is a famous artist, and the conversation returns to the same one again when they mention the famous artists name. And I've NEVER heard of them. I don't know their work, style, subject matter or anything about them. And then they both said, in this parallel conversation "He's good!" and I said "So am I!" with a grin, and they are taken aback by the quickness and directness of my response, and say "I'm sure you are" and I nod, and add, "Its just that I don't charge those sort of figures......... y .e. t...... " and they grin back. Same conversation, same message, just different days and the illustration of the way an artists life progresses, in small steps to get to the big picture.
My friend K dropped into see me yesterday afternoon, he's someone I have drawn every so often and someone whose company I like very much. He had called for a cup of tea, as he had a personal problem he wanted to discuss alone with me. He arrived full of good cheer as he always does, and we talked about various things like we always do, he admired the Royal Crescent at Bath painting, and the latest fanny painting that's half done, and then we sat down over mugs of hot sweet tea, and shortbread fingers, to discuss his dilemma. It was something he had been mulling over for some time, something he had shut away for way too long, as he found it a huge problem. He showed it to me, revealing bits at a time, explaining as we went along what was what, and where he wanted to put it. He showed it to me at various angles, and I peered closer for a better look, intrigued with it. I could see exactly what he wanted, and I could see how he could get it. And I so wanted to get my teeth into it. But, it's not for me to do. It's for him to do. But I can lend a hand, but it's his design. And it will work as a great idea. He knows how to do half of it, what to put where, and how, its just that he needs my help for the other half, the bits that join it all together to make it complete. I know how I would do it, and I know its very do- able. I would love to do it. But in this instance, it's not for me to paint, its for him to paint, with me as artistic advisor. And I'm all fired up with it already, and I know he is too. So I really hope he can soon get it started and I shall be intrigued to see how it develops. I can see it finished in my head already and he hasn't started the first line of pencil on paper yet. The birth of an idea.......... I look forward to seeing it come to fruition, and helping to play midwife to the concept so that it sees the light of day.