There is a wee bit of a story to this piece…
Well, I had won an award for “Clockwork Crow” in a country town about 6 hours from where I live. I like to turn up to such things both to be polite and of course for the greater glory of Paul. SO I had gathered my best friend Tim and a bottle of gin for martinis (for him) and set off.
We got there ok, even on time, though we got confused between the pub and the hall where the exhibition was on and were forced to play pool while we worked out the error of our ways.
Getting to the hall, I realised that they were reading my name as I walked in and sauntered up on stage and got my hand shook by the mayor of Wongan Hills; I got a hand made purple plaque and my cheque. Yay. Tim had retired to the car to play guitar by himself and drink martinis. The Wongan Hills folks were immensely friendly and far, far more friendly and hospitable than the city-based people I have met in similar circumstances.
OK. Well there weren’t martinis. It was just gin. No olives or even a glass I don’t think.
After failing to schmoose very well he and I went back to the pub for some more pool and to celebrate my victory.
Now you see, I was wearing a suit, and Tim a muscle shirt.
He is very big and does Kung Fu. When I say he does Kung Fu, he studied it for years and is kind of good at it in a very practical sense. Also he is somewhat known for his surliness and inability to cope well with people threatening his person and remaining passive. And it seems that stylish charcoal gray suits act as a red flag to a similarly surly bull for drunken local country folks.
The evening had not progressed very far when we noticed that some of the local lasses were taking an interest in us and soon a group of young country girls had struck up a lively conversation with us where we failed to have anything in common.
The local lads seemed perturbed by this and began being more raucous and surly themselves in a different manner. Someone threw beer nuts at me and there was some jeering. Then someone threw ice. I had worked out by this stage that these people may well qualify as YOKELS, that there were LOTS OF THEM and that we were in THEIR HOME TOWN. I began agitating for our departure. Tim, however, had different ideas and in a slightly unsteady manner was counting our potential foes and then nodding confidently and rolling his shoulders.
“Ok dude. You got the two skinny ones on the left? I got the rest.”
“Gah! How about we buy them a round of drinks and tell them how nice their mullets are? Or we leave, dude, my paint covered chariot of uncertain mechanical reliability awaits!” I replied, tugging ineffectually at his notably solid upper arm (for which I had to reach up… I should point out that Tim is NOT a violent guy. Just – well – aware of how capable he is and not given to being pushed around.)
Eventually I got him to leave but it wasn’t easy. We escaped without violence and I still had my cheque. We had also had to abandon any hope with the local girls… sigh. “To our ashes glory comes too late.” (Martial.)
On the long drive home in my trusty 1984 Pulsar (NOT TRUSTY AT ALL! the damned thing cost me almost all the money I made this year!), we got well and truly lost and got to my house around 5am.
I didn’t sleep, not really sure what I did apart from that it would have involved working.
Right; now we come to this piece.
I was painting for a charity show, which I had done before, but this was a little different. I turned up, only a little late – Jane had volunteered to pose for me on the evening. She was great for stuff like this.
There was a chair and also an easel on stage in a gigantic hall. A spotlight shone on the easel, and 200 or more formally set tables lined the room, filling with people dressed in black tie. There were at least LOTS of people attending.
I had my canvas and my paint and a model on a BIG empty stage and I had not slept the night before. The MC announced that I would be painting for the room’s pleasure and that the piece would be auctioned for the charity at ten o’clock.
It was just past 7.30 at the time.
So I had less than 2 and a half hours to start and finish a piece in front of 500 people who were all at least rich looking and I was exhausted.
Here is where a little bit of bipolar mania can be a handy thing. I was a bit high and frantic (see the bipolar and Paul page) and I painted well. I finished the piece with minutes to spare. There was actually a bit of a bidding war (well ‘war’ may be a little strong) and they sold the piece for $1500 unframed for their charity.
Although someone did steal my briefcase on the night. Grr. And they never gave me a thank you note or courtesy thank you phone call. Not that I am bitter about it but it is a bit galling. I mean I didn’t get any of the money, you’d think they would thank me. But noooooo.
The piece above is the one I did on the night. Note that it is pretty big.