Rudolph Stocking
another blast from the past

One of the nice things about being an artist is that you can get better. Vincent van Gogh is a spectacular example of this—the man failed at everything he tried his hand at, and his early paintings (no matter how museum curators try to snow you) such as The Potato Eaters are awful. (Trust me, the real painting looks a lot worse. I know this, because I saw it at exhibit of his portraits...)[1]

Yet he's rightfully celebrated as one of the best and humane portraitists who laid paint to canvas.

Reindeer stocking. Felt, sequins, jingle bells. Photographed 25dec2002; manufactured late 60s/early 70s. With yet more of my fridayfugly level of image editing.

So today's friday fugly is an early example of my awful art: I was responsible for drawing Rudolph, which my mother cut out in felt. I'm thinking I was about 8 or 9: my youngest sib inherited my eldest's stocking and he got this one. (He came to regret this request, as well he should, but at the time I believe he was pretty chuffed.) I draw deer much better now, but true mastery—as a batik painter told me about a decade into my marriage (and roughly three and a third into my art-making career) is a never ending road.

The road beckons ever on.[2]

[1]And then there are people like Picasso who was drawing on his dad's work when he three, or that Chinese girl who started at 2 and a half—but they had parents to teach them from the get go. The desire to make art does run in families, but more often than not, it pops up out of nowhere, like a dandelion in a perfectly manicured lawn. Certainly my mother was terribly frustrated with my requests demands to show me how to draw horses and the like. Why she didn't just open a picture book and have me copy from photographs escapes me.

[2]Misquoted from Tolkien.