High School Lessons: Perceptions

In High School, my art teacher insisted I enter a piece in the high school art contest. I was shocked when I came in second. After the event we put on a gallery of all the pieces.

I, alas, do not have a copy of the piece which won second. I sold it, and I was happy to be rid of it. It was a still life that I had learned to hate. There was a wicker chair, a trumpet, a plant — I could swear was growing while we were drawing it, and an assortment of other oddities on a folded canvas drape. I drew that in pencil. Then I was told to go to crayon, so there would be no hope of continuously erasing mistakes and second guessing. The high school didn’t have the best equipment and I got stuck with a dried up crayon to do the piece.

For the gallery, all the art students who entered were docents. I pulled my stool over by my piece. I was curious, as another student had a work close to mine, which I thought was far superior. However mine had a nice ribbon on it. There’s did not.

People came in and people ooh’ed over mine. I watched them see the ribbon and change their opinion, deride the one beside it. One person even told me how mine was so superior to the other. I looked at them blankly, and told them mine was marginal. They said I shouldn’t say bad things about someone’s art. I said, “I can say what I want. It’s mine.”

But the most bizarre situation was when someone decided they were going to talk about my piece. They went on and on about how the light touch with the crayon reflected from the artist the existentialism of life.

I just was astounded.

The reason the color was light was because I couldn’t get the darn crayon to make a darker mark!