Friday, December 09, 2005

1871 Can't take my eyes off

a featured painting by Larry Lombardo in the Winter 2006 issue of Watercolor (American Artist) pp. 92-93. I'm not one to read a lot into a painting--I either like it or I don't. Often, I couldn't even tell you why. Sometimes it is the technique, sometimes the color, but Oh, I do love a good story.

Larry Lombardo lives in Pennsylvania, and according to his website, he began painting to keep his sanity while he was a stay at home dad. I read his explanation in the article of the painting titled, "The child has grown, the dream has gone," which is a teen girl in black goth and a older woman in a pastel dress sharing a park bench. He says, "I wanted the painting to show the extreme differences between the generations and the point at which the younger generation becomes the older generation."

That's just way too abstract for me.

Scenario 1: I see a woman about 80, who has lived through the Depression and WWII, perhaps a widow, with some health problems apparent from the painting (maybe some arthritis and vascular problems with her legs), sitting quietly enjoying the sunshine thinking about her life, remembering the good and the bad. Her skin and face are flawless, her hair perfect. At the other end of the bench is a sullen, slouching teen listening to her music, with zippers all over her clothes--a goth or heavy metal look, screaming in her slilent scowl, "I know nothing and I'm mad as hell."

Scenario 2: I see a grandmother and granddaughter, the younger one has turned off her music and is listening attentively to the older woman's advice, which she probably won't take. But it's a step, at least they are talking again. They used to be so close. When the younger woman was about 7 or 8, grandma could do no wrong, and she loved to spend the week-ends with her. But now, grandma is just an old fuddy-duddy like her parents who doesn't like her clothes or her metal-stud-faced boyfriend (he's not in the painting). Grandma's much more at peace than granddaughter--there's nothing she hasn't seen or done. Teen-baby stares at her with that "I can't believe it!" And she won't for oh, maybe another 10 or 15 years.

Lombardo has been a youth pastor, residential counselor, and a psychiatric assistant. He's particularly good, in my opionion, in capturing the expressions of older people. Like the middle-age, pudgy guy eating a do-nut looking at a row of motorcycles. Another good story.

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