Saturday, October 8, 2011

Where Artists Go in Old Age

Mr. Fuzzy Beard was picked up by the police for public masturbation.  Given the choice between jail and the hospital for psychiatric evaluation, Mr. FB chose the latter and sat comfortably, staring at everyone and everything with large, disconcerting eyes.  During the course of his stay, he received a sandwich and was very much pleased with it, temporarily distracted... until he saw me walk by.

"Hey, hey, are you *ethnicity 1 or *ethnicity2?"
"*Ethnicity 1, how did you know?"
"My wife, she's a painter, you know. She teaches painting to two little girls who look just like you."
Because all of us look the same, I know. "Oh, acrylic or oil?"
"Oil. You know, I'm an artist too.  Give me paper and a pencil. I'll draw a portrait of you."
"Yeah, you'll have to give me $10 for it, though." I humored him and brought him a clipboard, a few sheets of paper and a pencil.
"Mr. FB, it looks like you're still eating."
"Yeah, I guess I am. You can draw a picture of me until I'm done. I bet you're better at it than I am."
"Why do you say that?"
"I can just tell that about you."

I smiled and asked his sitter if she minded me sticking around. "Nah, anything to keep him happy and quiet."
So I made a rough sketch of him.  It was a good likeness- if you can imagine a Harry Potter-world "mad wizard", Mr. FB would be it.  He had long hair around his balding pate and a full beard. His fingernails were dirty and he had a necklace of beads made from rolling up pieces of magazine.  His features were fine, however, and in some alternate universe would have looked scholarly provided his twitch tic and crazy eyes didn't betray him.

"Well, well, let me see it! You're taking an awfully long time, aren't you?"
"Good art takes time."
"What, you think Picasso more than a few minutes?"
"Absolutely sir, here, what do you think?"
"Ahh, that's wonderful.  See, I would give you $10 for this. Don't I look like a professor?" He smiled beatifically.

I should have included the dab of mayonnaise left on his beard, but otherwise, the likeness was real. I would take a picture of my drawing and show you, but wouldn't that be a HIPAA violation?

Later, he drew a picture of his sitter. From his picture, one can clearly see that he has been majorly influenced by Picasso. His sitter was less than pleased.


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