Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Fox Broke My Heart

When my four year old was just a baby I strapped her into the baby bjorn and took her to the Art Gallery to see an Emily Carr exhibit. We hung out for a few hours in the gallery staring at art and being followed by a security guard who was clearly convinced my new baby was going to projectile vomit on "Among the Fir, 1931". There was no barfing and I left the gallery feeling renewed by the fact that I had not only exposed my daughter to some great art but that I'd actually left the house wearing an outfit that wasn't made from flannel. It was an art miracle.

I've always had a deep appreciation for art. So much so that when people refer to themselves as "artists" I always assume visual. This may have something to do with the fact that I spent an immense part of my youth at the Art Gallery of Hamilton: staring at butterfly stickers in the gift shop and looking for buttons to press...but still. To me, artists were the real deal. They looked and smelled exotic and invited you to their apartments to eat cow tongue (true story). My parents seemed to have loads of artist friends in the 70's who would send hand painted thank you cards. I now know they were all just too high to leave their apartments to go to Shoppers Drug Mart but at the time it inspired me to make my own cards which I did for years.

But I'm choosey. About art. I have to be hit on a pretty hard visceral level. I've stood in galleries feeling nothing or bawling my eyes out or laughing each and every time I look back...

And this is where the Fox comes into play. It imprinted itself on me. If I was a lady fox...well I'd probably have left my family by now. I'm slowly collecting pieces I can't live without. They are usually the size of my palm and extremely quirky. Not too expensive but original and lovely. Oh that DAMN FOX!

So fast track 4 years from my first art date with Olive to this weekend at an artist exhibit. We walked through aisles and aisles of some great art, some not so great art and finally one piece that took me off my feet. I can't even describe it to you because the pain is too fresh (drama much?) I asked the artist if I could photograph it and email it to my husband. My husband responded immediately that the name of the painting should be "Painted for Allana, 2011". It wasn't an immediate pull the chute situation because it was more than I had originally thought of spending. 100% worth it, but I had to think...

And that's when, let's call him, "other potential buyer" enters the picture. I'm not worried because he doesn't look passionate... he just looks like he wants to stick it in his basement juice bar (me bitter???). So I decide to go for it. The woman selling the painting (not the artist - he's there and great - so who knows what's up) tells me she hasn't talked to the other guy yet. I ask her if she would consider including the tax and she tells me that she'll be right back...

Suddenly I've lost the Fox to Mr. Juice Bar because he's buying two paintings. I'm at a loss... Olive is tugging on my sleeve because we have to leave to get her to swim class and it doesn't look like I could physically take on Juice Bar because he's 8 feet tall, with a giant club foot and really pointy rotting teeth (me bitter???). I decided to get out of there because I started to feel like the pawn who got Mr. Two Paintings rolling plus he's starting to foam at the mouth and turn into a glob of purple jello like in that scene from "Weird Science". Okay, I'm fully lying. I lie when I'm sad.

When we got back in the car and I had an opportunity to shed a little tear...Olive asked me "What's wrong Momma?"

I replied: "Art".

Mr. Fox you truly are "the one that got away". I miss you already. I'm dying to know what happened after you jumped over that lazy dog.

I hope no one ever projectile vomits on you.

(Go here for the incredible thing that happened next: Amazing update)


  1. perhaps you will come across it another time.....Mr. Juice bar is probably fickle and buys art like people buy never know

  2. I know it isn't much but you have the love small prints anyway! ;)

  3. Thanks for your encouragement Anon and AB.