Saturday, November 15, 2008

Smacked in the face

Last night, Peter and I watched "The Wizard of Oz," and for me, as a painter, it was a revelation.

As I watched, it occurred to me that my entire artistic sensibility is contained in that movie.

My first thought was absolute and horrified dismay. What?! "The Wizard of Oz"? What kind of pathetic, untrained, dreaming fool has "The Wizard of Oz" as the backbone of her painterly vision?

But there's no denying it. Look at the trees in the dangerous forest. They're my trees. Look at the hills outside the Emerald City. They're my hills. Look at the colors in the entire movie. They're my colors!

I'm doomed! I should give up now! Just surrender. Hand Toto over, light a fire under the scarecrow and call it a day.

Who would ever want to look at a painting that was made by someone who, deep in her unconscious, seems to believe that "The Wizard of Oz" holds some sort of artistic meaning? Why couldn't I discover that my work was somehow subconsciously formed along the lines of Matisse, or Rembrandt or Edward Hopper? No, apparently, my entire painterly person owes its being to Oz director Victor Fleming and cinematographer Harold Rosson and unnamed set designers and scene painters.

The more I watched the movie, the clearer this all became. And for about an hour, I suffered.

Then, I thought, what the heck. There are worse things to have inside my soul. If the ancestral tree of my painting grows in the soil of "The Wizard of Oz," well, at least it's rich soil. At least it's a place where optimism lives, where hope and courage defeat peril and evil, and where, even when you're feeling really dumb, there's someone who loves you and believes you've got something good going on.

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