Blue Tits…

It was one of my favorite paintings. A model — a larger older woman with immense sagging breasts — had modeled for us at the pay and play modeling session at the (RIP and much loved) Muddy Waters of the Platte in Denver back in the VERY early 80s (like 1980 itself). I sat beside my great friend, Wes Kennedy, and sketched. From the sketch came a painting, gouache, this woman, headless, painted in shades of blue. The background was orange/red and made by painting through lace paper. It had the effect of a tile wall or a medieval fresco or a background on a Japanese dish.

Wes wasn’t happy when I got a show. He’d always planned to be an artist (so had I, if it comes to that) and he worked hard to finally get a show. His first show was in a gallery; mine was in a coffee house, Cafe Nepenthes (RIP and much loved) on the back side of Larimer Square in Denver. The owner of the coffee house liked the paintings because they were figurative art. “People aren’t doing figures much any more. It’s a nice change from abstract.” So the day came and angry though Wes was (envious? resentful?) he helped me hang the show.

Since I often ate lunch there, while the show was running I had the odd pleasure of sitting there over my sandwich (pita bread, jack cheese, alfalfa sprouts and seeded mustard, grilled — yum) and listening to patrons comment on the work. Usually it was entertaining but once it was so funny I nearly ended up with mustard up my nose.

“I like that one.”
“Which one?
“In the corner by the window.”
“Yeah, that’s nice. Go see how much!”

The guy wandered over. That was 1981 and $700/month was still a decent salary. The painting — which I didn’t really want to sell — had a high price: $250. The man looked at the tag and jumped back. “No way, no fucking way am I spending $250 for a pair of giant blue tits!”

Sorry I don’t have a photo of it to post — but that stuff is all packed.

P.S. I’ve noticed in the past that posts in which I use the “F” word are seldom read. I do not know if WP censors or these posts are flagged for language or not public or what — but no other word can possibly convey that guy’s intense reaction to the price tag. Not changing it. Not writing “effing” or any other squishy retreat from real words used by real people in (somewhat) real places.