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Thursday, 15 November 2012

No, he hasn't become twins

When I first picked Zach up from school at his mum's request I heard the head mistress ask: "Zach, is that Big Grandad?" I mentioned this in a post and Lucy commented: "Does that mean there's a Little Grandad? And does he mind?"

Perhaps he did though he's a sporting gentleman (golf) and as far as I remember as tall as me, if much narrower. For now he has a different Zach-imposed name: Grandad Who Looks After Nanna. I have only met GWLAN once and have never discovered how he feels about names that sound to be translated from Zulu.

I'll get back to GWLAN (not forgetting N) in a moment. As photos in Tone Deaf have shown six-year-old Zach has an elfin charm which he may quickly grow out of. Any fule can point a Canon Power Shot (this fule does) and we wanted an interpretation. Caroline The Artist has done good work for us and I commissioned such an interpretation from her. Back came not one but two brilliantly elfin pix, one in crayon and one in something else - I've learned not to guess when it comes to the visual arts.

I know, I said, we'll choose one and give the other to GWLAN (not forgetting N) because they dote on Zach and look after him an awful lot. That was several months ago and the two pictures still hang on our walls. I could submit this problem to the BBC radio programme The Moral Maze. Or invite the services of your good selves.

15 comments:

Ellena said...

The first one - SOOO ALIVE!

The Crow said...

The second is more impressionistic than the first. Do they have any art by Impressionists? If so, they might love the second, softer-focus one.

Rouchswalwe said...

Hmmm. Which one captures the Zachster? The first one, as Ellena, notes, is actively engaging. I am waiting for him to walk out of the picture. The second, as Crow notes, is dreamier, as though he is thinking something. Like 2 sides of the same coin. Hmmm.

Ellena said...

I wonder why Rouchswalwe understands me so well. I also felt as if he were coming towards me.

Roderick Robinson said...

All: I was encouraged by Ellena's brisk ecertainties. Now I've got The Crow and RW (zS) being just as wishy-washy as the Robinsons. Come on, you two. Pretend for a moment you're both traffic cops. Traffic cops are good on visual aesthetics.

herhimnbryn said...

Being what is apparently a 'true Libran', scales of justice and all that malarky, I would suggest you get both pictures copied (one of the office supply stores here can do such copying. s there any such place in the UK?), have the copies framed and both sent to the other set of Grandparents.
Of the two images I am drawn to the first.

Avus said...

HHnB is thinking along my lines (well, she is my daughter, after all).
Perhaps Solomon had the right idea. Show photos of the piccies to the "other" grandparents and ask them to choose?

Roderick Robinson said...

HHB: One of the pleasures about being old and simultaneously comfortably off is that one tends to have most of the necessities of life to hand and can thus lash out on what were previously thought to be luxuries. Original art is one such luxury (Were I nearer Perth you might well find me browsing your shop shelves) and here the logic begins to fall down; somehow through pure greed, insensity, a materialistic sense, or whatever, it's important to own the original. More than that, if passing on a gift, the gift too must be an original not a copy. As I say there's no way of defending this. But I thank you for your pragmatism.

Avus: ... but they might choose the one we secretly like! We're not saints you know.

Julia said...

Put one away for a week and live with the other. After the week is up, compare the two and see if you are missed the stowed away picture.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ask the Zachster which one he wants you to keep!

The Crow said...

Let me be clearer in my response. I think the pastel/oil crayon portrait is the better one, more representative of Zach to my eye, and I'd keep that.

I personally don't like the oversized eyes in the watercolor - they are not right for his face, which is not as well composed as in the first portrait. Something of the impishness of the boy is missing in the latter image, too.

Since you weren't asking which one I would prefer, I decided to take the less offensive route with my original answer. I would seem I failed in my attempt.

Roderick Robinson said...

All: My gratitude to you all for making the choice slightly more difficult than it was. But this is as it should be. It made me look more closely at the second. Obviously this is less "real" than the first, not least because of the size of the eyes. On the other hand, these large expressive eyes support a more luminous version of Zach's face and it is for just this sort of difficult-to-define effect that we go for paintings rather than photos. I found myself looking years ahead when Zach's slightly ethereal qualities may have disappeared and this painting becomes an impressionistic memory based on what he looked like in late 2012.

I talked to Caroline The Painter about the paintings and she made a point which - damnit - I've now forgotten but had to do (I think) with a tendency to fatten up or thin down children's faces. VR added to this that the problems have to do with faces that are almost visibly in transit, especially noses which at this age are almost shapeless compared with those of adults. A bit like painting clouds, I thought.

Rouchswalwe said...

This brings back the reason I love Richard Mason's book, The World of Suzie Wong. He goes to Hong Kong to see if he can really paint and at one point tells another character what the difference is between a photograph and a painting.

The Cool Kid said...

If it means anything, Bella and I prefer the bottom one.

Roderick Robinson said...

Cool Kid: Should you ever re-read this, you'll see you get a mention in the December 11 post