Scowl

Added on by Linda LaBella.

Family portraits suck for at least one of the subjects, the rest have varying degrees of acceptance of an awkward moment.

dad scowl2.jpg
Linda scowl 2.jpg

  When drawing I tend have an intense look of concentration, but other times I just scowl.  Clearly both facial habits I picked up from my father. One time, I remember working on a self-portrait for our high school arts magazine. I portrayed myself as a serious and hopefully, mature-looking artist. I was proud of it and left it on the table for dad to look at in the morning before school.  Most times he would leave notes about what I could work on to improve and this time I smugly thought I would get just a thumbs up or a big gold star.  The next morning I grabbed the folder and didn't check it because I was late.  When I went to hand it over to Bert, my friend and editor of Aegape, I  noticed that my dad had drawn directly on my work and "fixed" it by putting smile marks around my mouth and eyes. I was mortified at my own confused feelings of ownership, the stranger in the portrait and at my dad's presumption.   I had to cut 4th period to re-draw the portrait so that it could be published.  Later of course, dad's charm prevailed when he said he thought I looked better smiling.   I stopped leaving artwork for him to critique but that didn't stop him from hunting for my art to work on. 

 I think my father's propensity to draw directly on my art was not in his control. He was compelled to do it, almost like an addiction. When I was teaching art I had the same strong urge, however I learned to control it because college kids will yell at you. 

One time dad tried to give me back a portrait of the Beetles that I had started but clearly had not painted the finished product.   He found it in my loser pile and I guess he thought I would think I had forgotten that I had finished it, like elves or something.  Another time he thought he would just "touch up" an antique 19th century English ship painting that he found at a thrift store and signed his name to.  He later had second thoughts and tried to erase his signature from the painting and remove the weird yellow highlights he had added. He finally just gave it to me and denied all accountability.

Dad was such a cagey character.  Here he is in the 1970's,  probably drawing on some kids art, ha!

dad studio shot.jpg