Photo Credit: Denver Moskel
I’ve never seen myself painting before. while I was painting the decrepit red barn a young man approached me to introduce himself. he said he had been watching me from across the street for the past hour. we talked about photography and painting, and how he wished he could do it. he said he doesn’t think he could make good photos or paintings. I told him I used to say that very often.
after many minutes of chatting, I gave him my calling card before he left for home. two days later, he sent me some flattering photos of me painting, and this precious comment in his email:
I am the boy that spoke with you the other day. Thank you for all of your advice! I needed to hear the part where you said that I should never say sorry for my work, or specifically the standard I set for myself. Keep being yourself. You’re awesome and have greatly impacted me alone. Thank you for being you!
with a twinkle in my eye, Denver
by the way, he was no boy. a respectable and an intelligent young man indeed, but certainly not a boy.
speaking of boys (girls too!), I think a few kids in the neighborhood (picture in your mind Dennis the Menace and the Little Rascals) monitor my comings and goings. one day, one of them saw me with my gear and asked where I was going to paint. he wasn’t impressed when I said near the Mexican restaurant. everyone is a critic.
anyway, Denver and the kids fed my ego, and I curiously enjoyed it. after some deep pondering about why I seem to enjoy this attention, I’ve resolved that this is a normal human behavior. so I think many other artists, being humans (it’s possible that some could be other than that), also have their own egos to feed. maybe sometimes because of insecurity, or maybe sometimes because of arrogance. whatever, underneath every persona lays an unconscious desire to have an audience; to be accepted; to be liked; to feel assured that our works are pleasing someone or making an impact, and hopefully resulting in at least a sale. it’s human nature. (the latter is about surviving in a monetary economy, but that’s some other story.)
perhaps that is why Facebook is so compelling for many of us (not everyone). many of us have an inner desire to feel accepted, and liked; and to feel connected. we seem to have a ravenous ego.
anyway, what was I talking about? oh yes, Denver and the neighborhood kids made me feel liked and admired, and they fed my ego. I must confess that they also made me feel quite special and happy. they were my audience and I felt as though I was painting especially for them. they watch me from behind windows or shrouded in shadows (no I don’t need meds), and I hope I am setting a good example for them.
the attention that I have been enjoying reminds me of my painting adventure in Coriano, Italy. while I was out painting in a field, a little girl stood by my side watching me paint, and every now and then she whispered, “bella”. her soft voice was soothing as the sounds of the crickets, the occasional bees, and the grass softly rustling in that afternoon’s summer breeze. I gratefully smiled at her and kindly said, “grazie.” I went back to my painting and thought to myself, “I hope I’m at least a good example for you.” maybe she’ll become a fine artist someday, but without a 🎥 ravenous ego.
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