Thursday, December 07, 2006

In which I rag on my mother

My mother is an absolute idiot. I can usually let it roll right off, but I'll admit to her getting under my skin this go 'round. I can say these things and laugh, so it is not a big concern. Mostly, those of you with nice mothers, I want to show you that sometimes a mother is way worse than a mother-in-law. I don't have a mother-in-law, but I sure feel in the competition.

As anticipated, the whole 'make me into an angel' fiasco didn't end well. Allow me to excerpt some emails and realize that the woman is essentially illiterate with few capitals, little punctuation, and many incomplete thoughts. I am ashamed to call a spade a spade, but so be it.

On 11/27, she "placed an order" via a special phone call, asking me to make her an angel. In trying to figure out what she wanted and how I might do it best, it took a lot of prodding to learn that she wanted it of me so that she could give it to her current man. Just as it didn't matter to her that she was asking favors of my time to donate elsewhere and seemed to know it wasn't kosher, it didn't matter to her that I am not a portrait artist and that I couldn't do it in my preferred medium of pastels. I told her that it might resemble her somehow, but it wouldn't look like her. She said she was fine with it all and didn't care about the medium. She wanted it by the end of December, but I thought it best to do it right away. Actually, I was motivated to try my hand.

The next day, I emailed her a few times showing the progress of a practice drawing. I chose the pose because it would just be doing a head in profile, not a whole body, so it suited my meager talents better.

11/28 Cricket: I made some adjustments in the contrast. I need a good BW study before painting, so I'm just sorta letting you in on the process. Let me know if you like the composition.

I called her a few hours later and she'd already seen it, but had not responded. She said without any tact that she didn't like it at all. Because she is an idiot and cannot put real thoughts into words, I tried to pull from her what she didn't like - the composition, the pen/ink, size, what. The best I could get was that the hair was too big and the face too sad. I told her that the hair would be easy to remedy. The face to me looked humble and pensive, which of course doesn't suit her in the least (I only thought this), so I'd do my best to change that, but I don't do people, so what goes down is what goes down - I don't have a lot of control. By the end, she said it had grown on her.

The next day, I adjusted the wing size and did a watercolor, something I could easily mount to send her. So I emailed a scan.

11/29 Cricket: I want to darken the eye a bit, but this is your painting. I may define the wings more, don't know. I had an extra mat. This is 8x6 and the cream mat is 12x8.

Days went by, with only stupid, crapola, spam, inspirational email from her. Finally I took the lead,

12/2 Cricket: Did you like the angel watercolor? If so, I'll mail it next week.

12/2 Mother: I love you. I wanted Jack to take a pitcure of me at the angle of my face. We got buzy and didn't do it- Will try again on Monday. I have a fater face. I kind of looks like a man. Sorry. I have a date again today. We have talked on the phone 2-4 hours each nite. I like him alot.

12/2 Cricket: You are too picky. I am not a portrait artist!
[I had lost patience by this point and dispensed with the greeting and closing. Further, an angel with short hair tends to look like a man! I was just following instructions.]

12/2 Mother: you are doing me a favour I want the way I want itor name your price

What, free with donated mat and shipping, costs too much?

12/3 Cricket, with composing assistance from Luke: You're not understanding. That was my first ever watercolor portrait. I don't do portraits. In fact, that was my first watercolor in over five years.

I am a landscape artist. I work in pastels, but they need special treatment not suitable for what you want, quickie home framing.

I did the best I could and, without watercolor portrait training, I cannot do much differently. I can't spontaneously become a portrait artist, no matter how much you wish it. I'd thought an attempted representation, my interpretation as best told through my skill level, would be alright and I thought that's what I'd warned you of at the outset. Now you want more, but I can't give it.

Perhaps there is a portrait artist around there who can do a better job, but I can't provide you what you want at any price. I don't do people and you make me realize I do people even worse than I thought I might do people.

12/3 Mother: Cricket I am sorry that I ask so much of you and you don't feel that you can do it. You are my daughter and in my eyes you can do anything . I just asked for to much.. I know you are a great painter at what you do and enjoy. Please forgive me. Mom

I love double-edged apologies; they do wonders for my psyche. Fucking passive-aggressive bitch.

The painting sits on my desk and I have no idea what to do with it.

On Tuesday night, I emailed her pictures from the big, glamorous, special, exciting tour that my son, our little neighbor, and I took that day. I thought sending pictures might unruffle her and I would be extending the olive branch with hot off the press pictures of her grandson.

However, I got no response; instead I got another 10 idiot, inspirational, pass this along, bulk, BS emails from her.

This morning, I responded to one of the email crapolas:
12/7 Cricket: Did you get the pictures I sent?

To which she replied later Thursday morning:
12/7 Mother: from the big place--yes.

Rather cold, huh? I didn't have to send her the pictures. Makes it pretty clear where my sister's "what have you done for me lately" attitude comes from.

The whole thing reminds me when I was in HS and college. She would make plans to go out with her friends on the weekend nights. Part of her plans would be me, by default, babysitting for her friends' kids and me earning a cheap ass quarter an hour. Man, did she have a system for securing her and her friends' social life.

She thinks my time is hers to use at her disposal. I am merely an extension of her, a terrible parent trap. It doesn't matter if she thinks I am talented and she seemingly apologizes for giving me too much credit for things I don't know how to do. It's that she thinks whatever talent I have is open for her to apply to someone else in her life, in this case a new guy she's only been dating about three weeks.

She pisses the living fuck out of me.

How dare she: "you are doing me a favour I want the way I want itor name your price."

Yeah, I'll give you a dose of what you want right in the kisser.

PS - no consignment today - maybe tomorrow, but I've realized the stumbling block. When I did this before w/my wedding ring, they pried out the stone to sell separately and gave me the 18K setting w/2 trillions in a mangled heap; I have it in a baggie someplace. I don't want to see my beautiful platinum setting ripped apart, as I really love this ring, but I'm sure they won't want to sell the pieces as a unit. Need to get over this.


Kellie said...

The one thing I am learning is that all mothers, in their own way, are exactly the same. We all seem to know how to get under our childrens' skin. It begins at birth I believe.

Hang in there.

Do you need to make a decision about the ring right now? If it were me and I was clearly torn - I'd put the ring away for awhile and be sure that your decision wasn't going to cause you more heartache than the ring itself did.

DD said...

Since she won't commit one way or another about the painting and it's surely not going to be something you enjoy hanging on your wall, just send it to her nicely matted with a holiday card and call it good riddance and Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I'd be so pissed, I'd burn the motherfucker.

She really doesn't get it.

Cricket said...

My goal for consigning now would be that it might sell at Xmas or in the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day. I think my last one sold b/c of Valentine's Day. The place won't issue checks until at least a 30 day grace period passes, plus there's always the accounting system crap, so the earliest I could hope for a check would be April or May - the time frame I got the check last time.

But Luke wants to have a late lunch today, so I don't see doing it today. I had too full a morning to make it to the jeweler and I'd rather do Luke than a jeweler this afternoon.