ART/WINTER 2003                                                                                                                                                  ISSUE 5


I never cleaned my paintbrushes properly.  You are supposed to wash them out with soap and cold water, but I never did.  I always just used warm water with no soap.  Warm water loosens the bristles and they fall out and you end up with some spindly looking half-bald tops like a group of skinny people in a cancer ward.  So that’s what I always had, maybe that’s why my art never went anywhere. 

My art teacher used to yell at me, ‘cause it pissed him off, “Now, Dreama,” he’d say in that patronizing tone as I pulled out a brush and crunched the stiff, improperly washed bristles against the table to loosen them up, “If you would use soap you wouldn’t have that problem.”  I ignored him ‘cause he pissed me off, but I did hear him.  I listened more; I’m sure, than he thought I did.  We all did.  There were about 6 of us who spent most of our high school years in that art room.  One year, I didn’t even have a lunch period; I just went to the art room. 

“Nay, Judith, I can’t agree too lightly in the truth of all this.  If forts are good to keep off inimies, they sometimes hold inimies of their own.  I don’t think ‘twould be for your good, or the good of Hetty, to live near one; and if I must say what I think, I’m afeard you are a little too near as it is.”*

“Deerslayer?”  Mr. Davidson said, in passing, as I frantically got in some more reading before the bell rang.  He sat down at the table across from mine then yelled to me. “You don’t want to read that, it’s pretty gruesome.”  Davidson always did that, yelled across the room I mean, he had a deep voice and it carried.  I knew what he was talking about though, I just knew because I did; we had a good rapport. 

“That’s the Deer Hunter,” I said, “The one about Vietnam, right?  This is about Indians.  'The Last of the Mohicans' is a sequel.”

“Oh,” he said, seeming disappointed that he was wrong. 

I laughed to myself and continued reading.  I never quite knew how to take him; after all he was my teacher.  But I think we were friends. 

 I always imagined I would graduate and become this really good artist then one day I would have a big show and invite him and he would come and be so proud and impressed that he taught me so much.  But it didn’t happen that way.  For 4 years, I saw him everyday.  He drove me crazy sometimes.  But then, I graduated and he retired and that was that.  The days we all spent in that art room became a fond memory or a story I would tell my friends…

“Did I ever tell you about the time Mr. D went to China?  He was so disgusted because people spit everywhere.  He went on probably a half hour about that.”

Photo by Jen

Photo by Jen

CAMERA SHY:  Left & Right, The 1991 Ohio Governor's Youth Art Exhibition
"No pictures, please!!"


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