I was looking through an old sketch book of mine when I came across the plans for a Twelve Days of Christmas triptych. For those of you who don’t know what a triptych is, it’s when you do three paintings that COULD stand on their own individually, but look so much better when they are side-by-side. Kind of like the Kardashians.
I’m wondering why I abandoned the idea when I hear the droning voice of Alan Rickman in my head.
“You abandoned it because you couldn’t possibly pull it off,” the Manipulator says.
“Bullshit,” I respond. “I can do anything.”
“I don’t think so. Look at your last attempt at landscape. DIdn’t turn out so well, did it?”
I glance over at one of my paintings and cringe.
“See?” the Manipulator gloats at me. “Any attempt to cram 78 items into 3 paintings AND include any kind of landscape would be torturous for both you and the few viewers you might get.”
“Hmmm. Maybe you’re right,” I agree. Then I put the sketchbook down.
A few hours later The Wife comes home. She steps into the studio and gives me a kiss on the cheek. I smile and get back to what I was doing; putting the finishing touches on ‘Tear Down the Day’. I slip into my own little world for a few moments before I hear The Wife say,
“Hey, this looks like a huge project.”
I look over and see her holding the sketchbook. “Yeah,” I hear Alan Rickman say with my mouth. “But it’s a little too huge for me.”
The Wife frowns. “That’s not true. You could totally do it. It would be like ‘Sirens.’”
“Nah. No one will like it.”
Her frown deepens. She smells the Manipulator. I am not alone in my hatred of him. “That’s bullshit, Staton.” She always calls me by my last name when I’m being an idiot. She’s not the only one.
“Damn right, Staton,” I hear Captain Artist yell in that Keith David voice. “Why don’t you grow a pair and quit being such a…”
“…baby,” The Wife is saying. “You already have it sketched out.”
“Hell, son, you’ve done most of the damned work!” Captain Artist says.
“And,” The Wife continues, “it looks like fun! I bet you can get a ton of people to pose for you.”
“Are you two talking together?” I ask weakly.
“What?” The Wife says.
“What?” Keith David says.
"You think I can really do it?”
“Hell yeah,” they exclaim in unison.
“I mean, I have already done a lot of the work. The idea is right there on paper. It’s a lot of animals, though. Where am I going to find a partridge?”
“Figure it out,” The Wife says.
“Loser,” Captain Artist adds.
“What about the Tarot series?” The Manipulator asks. “I was going to start that next and it’s pretty big, too.”
“SONOVABITCH!” Captain Artist yells. “Are you a self-employed, honest-to-God entrepreneur, or are you a god-damned prissy pants?!”
“Did you just say…”
“Are you a rockin’, sockin, paint-selling motherfucker, or are you a stinking little art weasel?”
“Ok, now you’re just being…”
“Do you WANT to eat pork and beans from a can and have your wife leave you in the middle of the night with your kids tucked away in the side car of your motor bike? The one she bought you for Christmas last year?”
“I don’t have a…”
“ANSWER ME, YOU LITTLE PUKE!” he roars in my head. “Do you WANT to grow old and pose for a painting done by Thomas Kinkaide called ‘This Guy is an Old Loser Who Never Amounted to Anything’??? Do you WANT to…”
“Fine! I’ll paint the damned thing.”
The Wife smiles. “Good. You’ll be glad you did.”
I watch her as she starts to leave the studio. “Are you sure you can’t hear him?”
“Hear who?” she asks, looking a little worried.
“Never mind.” I turn back to the canvas.
“You’re so weird sometimes,” I hear her say as she leaves the room.
“You’re so weird sometimes,” I hear Captain Artist whisper somewhere in the back of my mind.