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Wandering Art – by Robert Genn

Wandering Art
by Robert Genn

When Dick and Shirley got divorced, Dick married Flo and Shirley married Dick's best friend, Mel. The two couples got along famously. At Christmas, for example, they always cut down and decorated the Christmas tree as one happy family, blended kids and all. Christmas dinner was always a not-to be forgotten celebration.

Every time I had a solo show at Dick's gallery, Mel was the jovial guy behind the bar. He did it for free. Everyone loved Mel.

Mel had a heart problem and one day his doctors decided to operate. They got his heart out okay, but it was too big, and they couldn't get it back in. After about a week of heroic attempts, Mel, who never really woke up, died.

Everyone was devastated. Tributes poured in. As a gift for Shirley, I painted Mel's portrait. Dick gave me a few photos to work from. One thing about acrylic, it's a cinch to add collage. Using acrylic medium, I put in a score-sheet of his favourite song, Danny Boy, photos of horses from the local racetrack and an old shot of Mel. On February 4, 2000, in a shower of tears, I presented my effort to Shirley.

After about a year, Shirley met John and within a few months they were married. The painting was passed on to Shirley and Mel's son, Peter, and that's when they lost track of the painting.

A few weeks ago a friend phoned and told me there was a painting of "a guy named Mel" in an auction and one of my dealers had bought it. I alerted Dick and during their even further blended family Christmas dinner--between the turkey and the pudding--they all went online, chipped in, and bought Mel back.

I don't know about you, but to me it's this sort of stuff that makes the whole art game worthwhile. That painting of Mel is just twelve years old and it has already had an adventure. I had a look at it and it's in good shape, still in the original frame. We've illustrated the painting at the top of the current clickback. Goodness knows, Mel and his posthumous ramblings may have an even more exciting future.

Best regards,


PS: "Certain things need to be kept in a family." (Dick)

Esoterica: Given, sold or stolen, our work is a gift to the Art Diaspora. I'm not flattering myself when I say that two hundred years from now someone will probably be sending Mel out for a cleaning. Maybe, together with this story, Mel will stay around even longer. Other paintings of mine have phoned in sick from junk stores and dumpsters. One, a small landscape done along the Mackenzie River in July 2001, fell into the fast moving stream and disappeared in the direction of the North Pole. Perhaps, one fortuitous Christmas, Santa himself will recycle it to a nice family down south. Stranger things have happened.

Robert Genn has given ARTAZINE permission to post from his twice-weekly newsletter. For more of his artistic insights, visit his blog at www.painterspost.com.

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