m wood pen

freelance illustrator: have pen, will travel

 what on earth is hubbell doing in africa?

last night i was sort of working and sort of not…laptop on my lap, with an occasional glance up at the muted television.  my son was hammering away on his laptop too, both of us settled into our shared separate one on one time.  at one point, he grabbed the clicker, saying, “i think this is chucky.  there’s no way i want to see that.”  he clicked away, and, never gazing up from my own work, i heard him say, “meryl streep and robert redford.  this is better.” (well, how’s that for a thumbs up, better than chucky!)

well, what kind of a girl would i be to not look up when i hear the words “robert redford”?  of course, i knew before my eyes popped up that noel had put on ‘out of africa’.  this is the good news about being a film addict.  i just know this stuff.  goody, what a great distraction from my work!  there was meryl astride a horse, beating wild animals, serving tea to a woman languidly reclining in a rattan chaise lounge, gazing longingly at hubbell.  wait, hubbell?  what was hubbell gardiner doing in africa?

then, my mind (as it’s prone to do) veered off into some deep thinking.

don’t get me wrong, i love robert redford.  how could i not?  after all, it was his & mildred natwick’s voice that compelled me to name my daughter after jane fonda’s quirky character in ‘barefoot in the park’.  i love his perfected imperfection, the way barbra streisand brushes that naughty stray hair out of his eyes.  that powerful way that he just stares, luring every girl i know into wishing it was her cuddled by him at that fireplace in katie morosky’s teeny walk up!   (and don’t even get me started about that tying the shoelaces bit…)

but here’s the thing.  i don’t think the man can act.  and that’s fine.  his looks alone are oscar-worthy.  i kept twisting these meandering bits of thought around as i watched the incomparable meryl streep, wait…no…karen blixson, dealing with the perils of savage africa and resisting hubbell’s advances.  boy, is she good!  meryl becomes the character, and bob (sexy moles and all) does not.

and here’s the dichotomy of fame, or celebrity.  what is it that makes someone famous?  or appreciated and therefore, by nature of the number of people like me who go gaga over them, celebrated?  in all cases, my guess is that it’s the transportation out of our own lives, there’s a genetic pre-disposition to be transported.  (do you like the way i inserted a few scientific sounding words to help prove my point?).  meryl becoming anybody transports us and that’s exciting. robert transports us to…well, that cozy scene in front of the roaring fire in katie’s teeny walk up!  and, let me tell you, that’s exciting too!  so, is it that we all crave excitement, the object of our desire, leaving our lives for a fleeting moment to experience something beyond, creating worlds for us to tiptoe through temporarily?

i really need “art”.  for me, it’s the bread & water of existence.  sure, i’m good at drawing, but i also know that every day has to be infused with some awe-inspiring transportation in appreciating and feeding off of some sort of creative something or other…music, color, a clever thought, a bit of hollywood, a profound book, a fashion trend that actually is worth following, even the way i felt last night enjoying the sensory experience of making a delish bouillabaisse for dinner.  the magic in the making of something out of nothing…which then spills into a shared magnifying and beautifying and electrifying…(thank god my kids eat mussels).  it’s how i create worlds out of my world, this simple pen & paper paired with a spark of an idea, and suddenly i’ve transported myself from this desk to anywhere my imagination will take me.  if anyone ever asks me what my inspiration is, i have a one word answer for them: life.

last night, as the two goofed around in africa, boy, did my mind wander.  every single movie that robert redford has been in raced through my brain slideshow, yep, same character.  he’s playing himself.  and to be honest, i don’t have a problem with that.  he is charismatic and mysterious enough to have it just work.  and what, then, was my final lingering image of the guy before i closed up my laptop and closed up my night?

i said my mind works like a string of pearls, and i probably should be exhausted from all of my “travels”:  i’ve now journeyed from africa, to the upper west side, over to california…i’m sure i dallied for a moment in the great west hanging with the sundance kid, spent some dark times in a lonely city with poor confused natalie wood, lingered very briefly in cuba, but ended up, that perfect hollywood ending, the coolest backdrop to a life, on a boat.  it’s always about a boat.

the single most romantic scene i’ve ever seen robert redford in?  sailboat, breezily coasting along the shore.  robert is looking particularly stunning.  no, he’s not sharing a love moment aboard deck with an enticing woman, the way bing crosby does while serenading grace kelly with “true love”  our hero, hubbell, is sharing this romantic moment with bradford dillman, who asks something along the lines of, “happiest moment?”…and the golden man of a million tugged heart-strings says, without a pause, “katie.  katie.  katie.”

omg!

watch for a new line of designs & patterns…and something tells me it’s going to be about a boat.

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