Happy Mother’s Day!
I’m so excited!
I just can’t hide it!
Remember the opening of that popular Pointer Sisters’ song? I’m going through the emotion right now. What happened was, my son, a professional artist, was selected as one of three finalists among over a hundred entrants in a sculptors’ competition for “One Per Cent for the Art” in a $6M New Mexico animal care facility. Then he emerged as the winner! It was his first attempt.
OMG! I have become an insufferable stage mother. I now refer to him as my Son the Sculptor with capital letter S. I can’t decide what to do right now. Should I buy a sequined gown to wear at the unveiling of the sculpture? Should I throw a big bash and invite anybody who cares to listen about the art-world-shattering news? I already made a big fat announcement on the retirement resort bus. The decrepit old people just looked at each other bewildered.
My Son the Sculptor has finally arrived as an artist. The events of the days when he was a struggling new artist are forever etched in my head. The clearest memory is of his first commercial solo exhibition.
I remember that morning vividly. I was pacing the kitchen floor frantically in my baby doll lingerie. Do you have a problem? Asked my concerned late husband Tom, the first in the widowhood series. He was eating refried pinto beans, bacon and over-easy eggs smothered with red chili. Yes, I do, I replied emphatically. Our son’s exhibit formally opens tonight and if he doesn’t sell a single painting, I’d die a couple of hundred deaths. I need to do something. He laughed. Don’t worry. I got that covered. I gave Tim $300 to go to the exhibit, pretend to be an art connoisseur and buy Son’s most expensive framed painting.
We cracked up at the clever scheme. Our unsuspecting son, the starving artist, had just been guaranteed at least one sale and the highest-priced to boot. I was so relieved by the plan that an unseen force pushed me to plant a smashing wet kiss on Tom’s forehead. Mwah! You’re a genius, I exclaimed.
At the show, before the guests arrived, I gave our son a piece of advice: Put a red “SOLD” sticker on your favorite piece so you have a primer, just like the street musician’s see-through tip jar containing his own dollars. When the guests started to arrive, I smiled sweetly at anyone who made eye contact. I was wearing a name tag that identified me as Artist’s Mother. Okay, got it: shameless self-promotion. An unfamiliar face approached me and struck a conversation: Pleased to meet the artist’s mother. He shook my hand. I preferred that he kissed it, like my European suitor did when I was a young hottie engineer in the Philippines. The distinguished looking man continued his line: You must be an artist yourself. I worked it demurely. No I’m not an artist. I’m a civil engineer. I’m into sewers.
Tim, our designated art buyer, was the fittest-looking of the small-business men with whom we drank libations at the local watering hole after work hours. Nobody ever built a beer belly on Southern Comfort. The problem was, Tom forgot to give Tim a crash course on how to act as an art aficionado. Tim came to the showroom more like a man sent by his wife to buy a loaf of white bread in a grocery store. He strode in the show room with a sense of urgency, picked the most expensive art piece, and paid for it. No perusing of the art work, no questions for the proud artist, no idle talk with the artist’s drama mama, nothing.
Our son got wind of the well-meant scheme. Who wouldn’t after watching Tim’s flop of a performance? His Southern Comfort breath might also have wafted in the showroom. After the exhibition ended, our son handed the $300 back to his dad. I can’t accept this, Dad, he said. What a guy! He did sell some paintings on his own merits.
Now Son the Sculptor talks about expanding his horizon. He plans to enter national competitions. Imagine how stressful that would be for the mother.
Fortunately, stress becomes me. So go ahead. Bring it on. Share your stage mother (or father) moment. I’m listening.
For those possessed of the time and the inclination to see the winning piece, here is the link https://thomastomlinsonart.blogspot.com