Script Page 3
So it ended up with me busting the picture over a chair and telling them to git the hell out of the house. I told them it would cost them $125 if they got the photograph back. I still have the picture in my attic. Never did get my $125.
I got a vision of art early. Knew right quick that it was a hard road to success...hard as a bastard and you don't get there with anything else on your mind.
My dad wanted me to go to college...so I took the nearest one to me...Ohio Wesleyan up here. I put up with it, but one summer I went up to Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod to study under Charles Hawthorne...big, six-one, strong person who looked like he owned General Motors.
Not the true idea of an artist. He lived in a palace, a fabulous studio with 105 students, a cook...cost me $50 for eight criticisms...but I got them with 105 other students.... mass production criticism.
I didn't have much money so he let me sleep in a coal shed... painted it white on the inside...put in a bed and named it "Black Palace. "Hawthorne charged me two dollars a week for that place...but it taught me something...I looked at him as the first real professional I had known...even if he did make his money as a landlord. He was eating and I wasn't too sure about Emerson Burkhart.
My father had been giving me a lot of trouble about eating regularly. He would come up with things like "Only one in a million makes it with art." "You gotta be born with it in your veins." "If you're a lawyer, it leads to politics." He always saw the lawyer in the communlty as the leading man in the town.
My dad was a materialist. How much can you sell it for? How much can you get for it? How much you got in the bank? In my thinking, anyone who thinks in terms of money, doesn't know how to spend it. He worked so hard at making money that he had no knowIedge of what money is for...I'm of different cloth; I don't have a lot of money, but I sure know how to spend it! I have fun with what I have. Sometimes, I think I'm the richest bastard on the block...
My mother was just the opposite. She'd slip me a ten and put her finger to her lips...quiet...if you wanna paint, you go ahead and paint.
My mother liked the sound of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and had a hard time deciding between Ralph and Emerson...but my dad always called me Pete. What the hell! He always called my brother Paul - Jabis. It was only towards the end of my dad's life that he ever saw anything good in my art...and that was a couple of checks!
I got my lucky breaks in life -- but never really got one with my old man.
Art comes in many forms...I remember in grade school that a friend of my dad's was named Sylvester VonderEmbse...a devout man who had been in a seminary...very well read in the classics... and had a vast knowledge of the world's good art.
But in our town he had to earn his living putting up wallpaper. He came to our house to do some work and I had this set of paints...he told me that he painted in the evenings when his work was done...invited me to come to his place and he would show me something about painting.
There was this print by Bartolome Murillo...an angel flying through the air. Mr. VonderEmbse was doing a copy job on canvas so I got a piece of canvas and copied it with him... my mother always liked this painting. She never gave a damn that I copied it from some Spaniard. To her it was just pleasing and graceful.
I gave it to my mother when it was still wet...the same day Mr. VonderEmbse came back to paint the woodwork yellow...
And I remember my father came in for what amounted to another untimely lecture in the art of living...we had just come back from Florida and he was hepped on truck farming...he told me that I should get into something productive and profitable... like the celery business... as he put it... "anything to get you out of this art business..."
He never understood me when I told him corn tassels were prettier than celery stalks. (Screen slide of EB corn tassels.)
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