October 11. 2000
Tired, feel like shit, yadda yadda. I am not a pretty girl, particularly at 2:30 am.
I can always feel Chuck standing behind me when I paint, even if he doesn't say anything. He'll watch for a while, and then lunge forward with a suggestion on the painting.
"You need to add a highlight in there, you see?" He pointed to the floor where the various objects that I was painting were strewn. To my surprise he picked up one of my brushes and carefully dabbed it in red and yellow. I watched the routine and practice of this movement with fascination. My initial reaction when someone tried to interfere with my work was to protest (I had a teacher in high school who constantly painted on my paintings, against my wishes), but I trusted he knew exactly what he was doing. He added a little band of orange-yellow.
"You're it for today." he said with a slight edge of a laugh in his voice. "I didn't get to my studio to work this morning."
"Really? What are you working on now?"
"The Triumph of Chaos." He let the allegorical title sink into me for a minute before continuing. "It's a figure, representing order, slowly being bound, wrapped up by chaos." He turned and focused his intensity on me. "You know, with brightly colored cloth, like a maypole, two figures dancing around her."
There was a pause as he put my brush back down on my pallette and continued to watch me put the finishing touches on the painting. "Your show is over, right?" I ventured to ask.
"Yes, it was on Friday. I would guess it's still up on the wall, however. I'm going to pick it up the work tomorrow."
"I didn't get to see it," I said regretfully. "I was wondering, though...could I have a catalogue? I mean, I'll pay for it or whatever..."
"No, it's okay. I'm not going to give them away willy nilly, but since you asked, yes, I'll bring you one tomorrow." We talked a bit more about the show, what he had sold, and how much it had cost him to print out the catalogues. Chuck talks almost incessantly about himself, but unlike most people who do this, what he talks about is always interesting, since he's been just about everywhere, done everything and met a lot of interesting people. Today he favored us with a story about nearly tripping over a very young John F. Kennedy Jr. during the Kennedy administration while he was working as the official White House calligrapher.
While I was putting my painting in the rack, he came up to me and surreptitiously handed me one of his catalogues. He smiled conspiratorily and said, "Be discreet." I took it and playfully hid it under my coat, and then transferred to my bag.
I hate when I worship and deify certain people in my life. I'm sure everyone does it sometime to someone. That person is so charismatic, so perfect, so talented that you put them up on a pedestal because you just can't deal with them in any other way. I sometimes do that with Chuck. With all he's done and experienced and accomplished, it's hard not to.
I've seen people fall all over him and cling to him and clamour for his attention, which he handles with grace and good nature, but I just don't want to become one of those people. But it's hard to talk to him and feel like I'm talking to an equal. He opens his mouth and no matter what subject he gives commentary on, it always speaks of his intelligence and talent. Make no mistake, he's a wonderful teacher and I'm very fond of him as a person, but it's hard to live up and relate to someone like that.
But it's hard not to just want to melt onto the floor whenever he looks at me with those intense ice blue eyes and, even if he's just asked me about the weather, feel like he's probing the depths of my soul. This isn't some sort of schoolgirl crush, it's more of a curious fascination and scrutiny than anything. One that I wish I didn't have.
One Year Ago:
all writings, (c) 1999-2000, BRR