Tuesday, March 9, 2010

John Singer Sargent and his Child Portraits.

Journal 2-
There were three of us in the grandmother's room conspiring to build a scaffold out of the dining room chairs. The plum-cheeked boy, the girl with the red, red lips, and I clambered upon the chairs, clutching and scrambling to reach the topmost shelf of the china cupboard. Carefully, and not rattling the leaded glass in the doors, the boy reached in and pulled out a very special dish. It was a very heavy serving dish with pretty pictures of animals all around the circumference. The girl took the platter in her hands, "See what we can do." As we all watched the plate, the woodland animals capered through the minutely painted twirls of ivy, and little buds blossomed and twinkled pinkly. Fawns and rabbits and brown bears on their hind legs danced under the crackled glaze. I took hold of the plate. "No, we must put it back now." They protested. I felt a blush of anger as I wrested the dish from the rosy fat fingers of the other children. I made the bear to swallow up the rabbits, then he swept his razor claws through the spindle-necks of the fawns. I thought I saw the tiniest, wettest ruby well up through the cracked glaze, and then I broke the plate on the floor and stamped down the pieces. It was all because I despise that girl with the glossy black hair and the red, red lips.

This is a story that I've expanded upon and even considered making illustrations for. It is based on a dream that my college roommate told me she'd had. We used to get up everyday and smoke about a half a dozen cigarettes and talk for an hour before we could get ready for school or work. I miss talking to her, but I'm glad we don't smoke anymore.


I can only think of this John Singer Sargent painting of The Daughters of Edward D. Boit from 1882.


or even better this Sargent- Portrait of Edouard and Marie-Louise Pailleron. Sargent's handling of paint was masterful. Close up it is very loose, but when you stand back the details, the lively snaps and quicknesses become very clear. I also adore the mood of these haughty, idle children of privilege. They go perfectly with my little narrative.

6 comments:

My name is PJ. said...

If this post was a spring rain, I would have showered in it. Okay, maybe that sounds a bit strange, but if you stop for a moment and think....the paintings were glorious and the words had a gentle rhythm.

You get an A+ and you didn't even know you were being graded!!!

5thsister said...

I adore Sargent's way with the brush! And you know something? I adore your story, too. I say, YES! Illustrate it. It suits your style very well. You are just too clever my friend!

Kass said...

Delightful flight of fancy! So unexpectedly spunky.

mrs. c said...

i love stories, and I think that you could beautifully illustrate your room mate's dream. The Faun in the forest is lovely, it reminds me that spring is just around the corner. We have a little cottage on the back of the mountain that is on a small lake and we see deer all the time. I put out apples and carrots for them to eat. Someday we will move there to live and I dream of drinking my coffee, sitting on the back porch in my tee shirt watching the water and world awake.

nonizamboni said...

Ahh, J.S. Sargent. . .not only do I love his style I like the 'size' of his work too.
Your narrative is provocative and I do hope you expand with some illustrations. Can't wait to see them.
BTW, go here: http://www.tmora.org/current.html
scroll down to the Matryoshka portion. I want to go before it ends...wish you could come along!! Could you? sigh

moneythoughts said...

You got to love his work, I do. Your story is interesting and held my and others interest. You should expand it. Good luck with this project.