Sunday, 24 May 2020

A Rising Renoir


My reputation as a nice and nurturing mother was totally obliterated in one foul swoop of a post that my 31 year old daughter put up on Facebook a couple of months ago.  Many of you will have seen it and now be wondering if this blog can even begin to undo the damage done.  Well, read on. It can only get worse. 

It was just an ordinary morning in March when I was scrolling through my news-feed on Facebook and saw a reproduction of a child's painting. A colourful nice-enough portrait of a pony-tailed girl with fishing rod sitting on a wharf.

It looked vaguely familiar.

And then I read my daughter's words accompanying the picture and all was explained. Of course! The painting looked familiar because she was the artist!

This is what my indignant cherub wrote.

"I painted this masterpiece at age 10 or 11. Two decades ago. I have not seen it since. Today I bought it in an op-shop in Whakatane for $4. Weirdest. Thing. Ever. Mother, can you explain???"

Her post had me Mortified with a capital "M" and psycho-analysed in screeds of comments from all over the world, the common theme being how could I, her mother, have done what I did?  Apparently I had failed to see in my paint-flinging little girl a rising Renoir, a gifted Gaugin, a morphing Matisse.

People hooted, commiserated, were shocked, aghast and disturbed. Why would a mother give her 10- year old's art-piece away? Why did the now-grown-up and married artist have to endure the pain and humiliation of seeing it hang in the front window of a Methodist Op Shop?

Why did she have to buy back her own masterpiece for a measly $4? ( That joke-of-a-price was of course the ultimate insult to the artist)

Comments ranged from, "This is fricken hilarious. look forward to your mother's explanation", to "No way!" and sprinklings of "omg" and, "That's so bizarre"

While the multitudes ranted, I was desperately formulating a plausible explanation to redeem my seriously besmirched reputation as a mother..

When one person wrote- "Your mother is oddly silent..", I decided to just spit out the truth which involves Marie Kondo of 'Spark Joy' fame. I am a devoted fan of hers and she and I have so much in common except for the fact that she is Japanese, dainty, petite, sweet, charming and demure. And now very rich.

This is my reply.

"I blame Marie Kondo for my daughter having to buy back her own painting in a Whakatane Op-Shop. I now recall giving an old suitcase full of picture-frames to charity after a de-cluttering frenzy in my home. One by one, I had held each frame close to my chest and asked, "Does this spark joy?"

The cheap and nasty red frame definitely did not spark joy so into the suitcase it got biffed but I totally forgot to first extract what it contained - a masterpiece of enormous artistic and sentimental significance.

Forgive me, daughter, for the emotional damage done. If it helps, your father is also unimpressed by my de-cluttering. He went to close the curtains one cold evening and they weren't there. I explained to him that those curtains no longer sparked joy and he just stared at me - confused. I have a gut-squirmy feeling that if he ever jumps on the de-cluttering band-wagon, I will be the first item to be pitch-forked upon it.

I am real happy, daughter, that the universe returned your child-hood masterpiece to you. Events often unfold as they should. Like a message in a bottle that gets found by the right person.

We had a couple stay here in this very house - he, a German man, had tossed a bottle from a ship years ago and it got found months later by a lovely English woman just strolling along the beach. The friendly note contained an address so she wrote to him and he wrote to her and she wrote to him...and they met..and got married!

And such is life!

Over and out!

PS Coss can't find his pyjamas.

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