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Today in My History

2000:  Dis-Connected
2001:  Movies to Sleep By
2002:  True Confessions
2003:  It's the Little Things
2004:  More about Aussies
2005:  Being George Bush
2007:  Answering the Call
2008:  It Seems So Long, Part 2

Rose Colored Glass

Books Read in 2009
Updated: 6/3
"Blood Work"

Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks


Ned's Video with excerpts from the FTS picnic

and on You Tube

Look at these videos!
Wallace & Gromit--Matter of Loaf or Death
ACLU responds to Prop 8
Former Interrogator refutes Cheney on torture
Alexandra Billings' Bea Arthur Story
One Voice, One Messsage

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The Paul Picnic

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4 June 2009

What's the old saying...?  "I don't know art, but I know what I like."

I love going to people's homes and seeing "art" hanging on the walls in tasteful combinations.  We don't have "art" here.   We have photos of the kids, photos of dogs, old Lawsuit posters, pictures of Judy Garland and a couple of things that could loosely be called "art."  I have no walls for "art," no knowledge of what to buy, no sense of home decoration, and no money even if I did.

I was lying on the couch this morning, as I woke up, looking at a somewhat small framed lithograph of Beethoven that hangs over our piano.   It was our very first wedding present.  Nobody actually gave us a picture of Beethoven, but our first gift was a check and that night we walked past a store that displayed the picture in the window.  I told Walt I wanted to buy it as our first wedding gift because then I'd always remember what the very first wedding gift we ever got was (of course in the intervening 44 years, I've forgotten who gave us the check we used to buy the picture!)

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We've added a very few pieces of "art" to the house since then.  We have a set of four Vanity Fair prints that I bought during the height of our Gilbert & Sullivan involvement.  They are of Gilbert, Sullivan, Richard D'Oyly Carte (their producer) and George Grosmith (the first patterman).  Actually I bought 2 or 3 of them and my wonderful friend Alison filled out the set, which was incredibly generous of her.  And when Peggy was here she bought me a lovely little Thomas Kincade painting at a Kincade gallery when we were on an island in Puget Sound with our friend Diane (she bought one for Diane too).

LivingRoom.jpg (98379 bytes)Just before we moved here to Davis, Walt and I went to one of those huge art warehouses where you can buy large size mass produced art for your office or house. Not "art" in the Van Gogh / Rembrandt / Picasso kinda way, but "art" in that someone put paint to canvas and painted it, whether any art critic would ever give it high marks or not.  The kind of art that that soft-speaking guy used to make in a half an hour on public television back before he died. 

At the end of a long aisle of floral arrangements and dogs playing cards and sea scapes I saw the painting at the left.  I fell in love with it.  I think it cost the whopping sum of $125 (which to us was a whopping amount for something as frivolous as a painting I already knew I had no room for).  It is meant for a large room and what you see there is just about the entire width between the fireplace and the wall and 3/4 of the height of the wall.   But I was leaving my beloved Bay Area and desperately wanted this.  When I miss San Francisco, all I have to do is lie on the couch, put my feet up and look at the painting.  I still love it.

And then there's Ramon's Wife and Daughter.

We met "Ramon" at a silent auction that Tiny Tots nursery school was having as a fund raiser.  Someone had donated the untitled painting that, as I remember, was mostly a dark background with an Hispanic man painted on it and "Ramon" as the painter's signature.

Char's husband Mike bid on the painting and won it.  We had many laughs over "Ramon" over the years (I wonder where it is now....).  We made up stories about him and how the painting had come to be painted.  We thought of using him as a dart board.

[Update:  See Char's note in the comment section for a correction to my memory!]

In 1986, my friend Gilbert died and I ended up in possession of the contents of his house.  I distributed a lot of his things to his friends, but I ended up bringing home a painting that had hung in his living room.  It wasn't a particularly good painting and he and I had never discussed it.  But he was a man who knew things about art and I always assumed he'd purchased it.  We hung it on the landing of our stairs (the only wall big enough to hold it) and, when Char saw it, she decided it was Ramon's wife and daughter.  So we've always called it Ramon's wife and daughter.

Some years after Gilbert died I found out --I don't know how-- that the painting had been painted by a mutual Lamplighter friend, who had spent some time in Mexico.  She contacted me and told me that she would be happy to take the painting off my hands, but by then I had gotten used to having "Ramon's wife and daughter" hanging around and I told her that I'd like to keep it.  I promised to give it to her if I ever wanted to get rid of it.

I have long since lost her contact information (and would have to probe the depths of my memory banks to remember which Lamplighter person it was, actually), but I still have a kind of fondness for Ramon's Wife and Daughter.

So we don't collect high fallutin' "art," but what we have all has special meaning for us ... and that's probably what artists have in mind in the first place.



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Me and Ramon's Family



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