For a time I imagined I would become a professional artist. The first time I realized I had any artistic ability was in first grade when my impressed classmates asked, “Did you draw that?”
I had a personal tutor — my dad. As long as I didn’t waste his materials, always asked permission first, and he wasn’t at the drawing table; I was allowed to sit in his tall swivel chair and create to my heart’s content. All of his books were available for study so I would spend hours recreating facial features, Disney characters, Mad magazine cartoons, eventually moving on to photographs for portraits or still-life compositions.
So maybe you can understand why I was so excited to see the collection of The Impressionists at The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth today. Manet, Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Degas and others all in one collection on loan from The Art Institute of Chicago. A feast for the eyes. Many masterful works by famous genuises.
I don’t do these things very much anymore. It’s not an easy task, but the ladies wanted me to attend so they made sure a wheelchair was available. I have only used a wheelchair on two other occassions: to enjoy the Dallas Arboretum a few years ago and to get around Lowe’s on a recent home improvement venture. Both times were a bit of a fiasco.
At the Arboretum Phat decided to follow the kids down a gravel path, so he parked me in a good spot and off he went. It was a lovely day and I was quite thankful to have an available seat to enjoy the view . . . until the water sprinklers kicked on. I was startled! Jumped up. Moved myself and the wheelchair out of range, and settled once again to observe the park. But instead, I noticed people were observing me. 😯
The second incident wasn’t nearly as wet, but I still did notice the stares. Phat is rather silly and doesn’t mind attention, so having a wheelchair to push and a wife to tease, well . . . let’s just say he can be rather quick down those long aisles at Lowe’s. And when he gets his speed up, he doesn’t steer very well. 😳
Today’s outing was much more peaceful and reserved: meandering through an air conditioned building, listening to the audio guide, commenting on our favorite pieces, noticing the artists’ use of color, and thoroughly enjoying eachother’s company . . . wow. Eating a gourmet lunch and discussing our favorite topic (our common love for the Lord) while drinking rich Maple Pecan coffee was a delightful end to the day’s outing.
However, . . . I still did notice the stares.
Quite a few actually. But . . . the excursion was worth the mild discomfort from some ill-mannered people wondering about the lady in the wheelchair.
Why do we stare?