Watching from afar during lunchtime, the two ladies, unknown to me, one younger than the other, were in in a serious conversation. Both were pointing towards the 30+ water color paintings of Venice exhibited at the art festival. After lunch, when they both proceeded their conversation about the artworks, I cautiously approached them. They now stood in front of the artworks and the following golden, most rememberable conversation took place.
Artist: “Does the work provoke any memories?”
Older Lady:”This man who painted this lot of water, hasn’t achieved anything worthwhile in his life.”
Artist: “Why would say you that?”
Older Lady: ” This man is afraid of taking chances. The painter has a problem with bridges.”
To tell the truth, I was dumbfounded. But before I could think of something intelligently to say, she continued:” This man has serious physiological problems.”
Artist: “But painting Venice, is mostly about water and bridges and the vaporetti and canals and….”
The older lady was now on the runway. The younger lady, standing on her further side, just shrugged and look away when I looked at her for some guidance. I was more confused than ever. Despite the fact that this was not the place nor my intention to embarrass the older lady, I said: “You know there is more than one way to look upon these artworks”
I was pointing towards an artwork of an old English cottage covered by autumn leaves of a creeper, reflecting in the water. “The bridge’s reflection in the blue water and the autumn color against that was the inspiration for me”, I explained. At this point, using the word “me”, I still tried not to embarrass her, so that she could understand that “this man”was actually a woman.
The older lady, not quite listening to my carefully chosen words said:”This man should learn how to overcome problems.” At this moment I knew that this conversation would be remembered as a golden interaction between the artist and the viewer. If she’d known me, she would realized that if ever I come across a problem, I would surely tell myself: “build a bridge an overcome your problems, or in this case I would say challenges “.
This thought made me asked her: “Are you a psychologist?
“No”, she said. “But I was a teacher for 30 years and I know what I am talking about.”
“You know, I really take your advice seriously. I must admit that this is the first time that my art had this extreme effect on a viewer. This conversation is a revelation to me as an artist. Thank you for contributing to to my artistic call”.
Realization dawned on her and she elbowed her younger companion, explaining to her: “See, this is the man that painted the water and the bridges!”
In The City of Love and Death: Part 4. A rooster is the main character.