Friday, November 25, 2011

Possum Poses

I'm still thinking about that house. I'll get over it. Another great house will come along, probably within the next FIVE YEARS. Or so. I'm fussy.

Possum has been trying to cheer me up, although he admits he'd like to live in a real house, where he could chase Wendy up and down stairs, have his own room, hunt "things" in the basement, and nap under the grape arbor on warm afternoons. (Yes, it had a very handsome grape arbor, too....) 

The weekend after we saw the house, we went to our first Fenway Studios open house. Now that I think about it, we were looking for ways to console ourselves. We met an artist I've long admired, Sam Vokey. We bought two wonderful paintings of Boston landscapes from the "reject piles"on his studio floor, which I rooted through without asking permission. He wasn't really selling them, but he gave us a great price. Mr. Vokey is very nice.

My husband chatted with him as I went through the paintings stacked near his kitchen. Among other things, he asked if Mr. Vokey had any interest in painting an ancient landscape. Both of them got very excited about that idea.

I asked Mr. Vokey if he ever painted cats. He became even more animated. "I love cats! I learned to paint from cats!" he exclaimed. At least that's what I thought I heard. Then he said, "It's how artists have always learned their craft." By then, every visitor in his studio was talking at once: "SHE said CATS but YOU heard CASTS!"

But wouldn't it be amazing if Mr. Vokey had learned to paint from cats?

I mean, I believed what I thought he was telling me. Because people kept giving me copies of that silly book back in the day, with the artist-cat on the cover that looks like Snalbert.

Anyway, I've been thinking about having Possum's portrait painted since I saw those cat paintings at a Skinner auction preview. I'd like to have all the cats painted, but Wendy would only hide, Snicky isn't looking well these days (although she's stumping around and hanging in there), and Bertie is all one color and always looks grumpy — hard to paint, I bet.

I showed Mr. Vokey a photo of Possum on my phone and he admired him. He emailed me later that week that he thought he might be able to capture Possum's "inner and outer beauty," as he put it. Of course, we could maybe afford only a tiny little portrait. A miniature, perhaps, someday. But it's fun to dream. Mr. Vokey said he'd have to paint Possum from life because a cat's fur is so soft, and it's impossible to paint that softness and the effects of light any other way. Indeed, Possum's fur is exceptionally soft.

When I told Possum all this, he was pleased. But he confessed that he'd always imagined himself being painted by Gainsborough or Reynolds in the Grand Manner.

"Are you sure that's regal enough for you?" I asked.

He gave me a hard look and said that he's been working on developing more modern tastes, if only to please me. Therefore, he'd be happy to be painted by Ingres, Sargent, or Boldini. Rocketing along right into the Edwardian era... good boy, Poss.

But Boldini? Please. He and I don't spend a lot of time discussing Boldini, but I had shown Possum this article a while ago, which captured his imagination. And mine.

"But Possum," I said. "Gainsborough, Reynolds, Ingres, Boldini, and Sargent have been dead for ages. Even Andy Warhol is dead. Sam Vokey is alive."

Being only 2, Possum has trouble understanding things like the average human lifespan, and who's still here and who isn't. He agreed that a living artist would do a better job than a dead one.

Since then, he's been disporting himself in various nutty poses, trying them out for when the time comes. He does charm me, and distract me from thinking about that house.

He says he'll have to nap to hold still for his portrait.

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