"A Game of Cat n Mouse--Rodeo Clown"
11"x14" Oil on Canvas NFS
This painting started out as somewhat of a "joke" on my mom and dad. I was preparing for my first gallery show and usually had 2 or 3 different paintings going at once. I was talking to my mom one evening and mentioned that she should come and take a look at one of the paintings I was working on. She just casually told me that she and my dad had come to my house several times to "peek" and that she had already seen the paintings on the easels. The "peeks" just happened to occur while I was gone. I kept getting on to my mom, telling her that the reception wasn't going to be any fun if she'd already seen all of my work before hand. I decided I was going to "fix" them, and pull a little prank on them.
I wanted to do a painting of a rodeo clown to go with the painting of a brahma bull I had done. I had only a day and a half to do a rodeo clown painting and had no real reference material....or so I thought. I started hunting and came across a good, candid, picture I had taken of my dad around Father's day. Perfect! He was to be my new rodeo clown! I had to work quickly and keep the work hidden....so it would be a surprise to both. I worked on the painting and chuckled to myself the whole time. It was amazing how fast that painting just "flowed". At one point I had to run some errands and decided to take the painting outside, in the sun to dry, so it would be ready for the opening reception. I put it on the roof of our garage....luckily....because,sure enough, I had "company" (my mom) wanting to see what I was finishing up for the gallery reception the next day. Whew....I avoided that surprise visit with my secret still in tact. The next morning, I started loading everything up to take to my opening reception. I loaded that painting first thinking...."just in case someone stops by"....sure enough, my mom did, just to see if I needed "help".
I arrived at the gallery, hung the painting and had a good laugh with Gina, my friend and the other artist exhibiting with me. Gina and her husband have known my dad for years and knew immediately that it was him in the painting, when I showed it to them. After a few more chuckles, it was a game of waiting for my parents to show up to the opening and unveil the surprise. I tried to make my parents wait and come in together but my dad was watching the train come in, so, I let my mom in first. I took her straight to the area of the clown painting and told her that these paintings were some of the newer stuff that she hadn't seen yet, or hadn't seen finished. She immediately started grinning/laughing and asked how I kept that one from her. Next it was dad's turn. He has a sense of humor like mine so, I figured he'd enjoy it, but....there was always that slim chance he might feel like I was making fun of him or something....since I had painted him as a clown. I decided to watch his reaction from the balcony in the gallery. He walked in and my mom lead him to the area of his "portrait". He stood there, viewing the other paintings and then kinda moved away, then started looking in the direction of the clown painting again, never saying a word. I finally couldn't hold it in, and asked, "Do you recognize the clown?" He paused, like he really had to think and then said, "Well, it kinda looks like me...looks like my hat, but, I don't ever remember wearing bibs". It was as if he was baffled at how it could possibly look like him....like maybe it was an accident....I don't think it dawned on him right away that I had done it on purpose. I laughed and said, "but you do remember wearing makeup?". We had a good laugh about it but he never really said what he thought of the painting. I asked my mom the next day if he said anything about it. She told me he enjoyed it and felt proud that I used his face and he wanted to purchase the painting. I told her to consider it his, and that I now had his Father's Day gift out of the way....Happy Father's Day dad!....Thanks for all of your support!
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