My husband Chris and I stared at the sample drawings scattered across our kitchen table as we pondered whether to commission a local artist to create a larger image of one of the abstract nude sketches to adorn our bedroom wall.
While we both liked nude portraits, we had our philosophical differences. My preference was for the nude to be abstract. His was for it to unfold.
“I can’t tell what the heck this is,” Chris said after a long silence.
“It’s art,” I explained.
“When’s the art going to be finished?”
“It is finished.”
“But the lines aren’t connected.”
“They’re not supposed to be. That’s the beauty of a line drawing. It’s interpretive. Look at this one. To me it looks like a man with a nice physique who is reclining. What do you see?”
He leaned in closer. “I see a goat lounging with a baby toucan perched on his . . .”
“Let’s try this one,” I urged. This required a bit more imagination on both our parts. We cocked our heads to the right and then to the left. We turned the drawing upside down.
“The only lines I see are the numbers on the price tag,” Chris quipped. “And if you divide that by the number of lines in the drawing it’s about $75 per line.”
“I’m not asking for a Picasso. It would just be nice to own at least one piece of authentic art,” I said.
“Then why don’t you lie down on a piece of butcher paper and I’ll trace your body with a Sharpie?”
“Go ahead and make fun, but this portrait is by a real artist. It curves in the right places,” I said, my frustration mounting.
“So does my colon, but that doesn’t mean I want to frame it and hang it on our bedroom wall.”
“Why don’t you just tell me what it is that you want?” I said, hand on hip.
“Thanks for asking. I’d like to see more dimension.”
“That sounds fair,” I conceded. “But what do you mean by that, exactly?”
“I’d like the nude painted on a velvet canvas to make it more interactive.”
“This is not a scratch and sniff cereal box prize! It’s supposed to be classic art.”
“Come here,” he motioned. I’ll show you classic art, and for a much lower price.” I followed him to the computer.
“Here we go. Authentic female nude, only $19.99.”
What I witnessed was enough to make Charlie Sheen blush. “Try using the search word ‘nude’ instead of ‘erotic.’”
“Fine. How about this one?”
“It’s hard to make her out under the chicken wings and bacon strips.”
“Come on, it’s perfect.”
“Maybe for the garage wall at Bob’s Auto Body shop. . .”
“How about this one?”
I began to realize we were never going to find a piece of art that was mutually satisfactory. So after discussing it at length we came up with an idea that we could both live with. It proved to be both authentic and multi-dimensional.
The next week, we stood in our bedroom admiring our new purchase. “I think the mirror looks great,” Chris said to my reflection.
“Me too. It’s a good thing it’s for the bedroom and not the living room. Let’s get dressed.”
Note: Several months after writing this post, I found this abstract nude.
I was attracted to its subtleness and grace. Chris was attracted to its price. The artwork now adorns our bedroom wall—alongside our mirror.
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