the varnished truth

Woman:  “Are you…are you the artist?”  here we go again

Me:  “No.”

Woman: [quietly, pointing to my father at his desk]  “Is he the artist?”

Me:  “No.  No, we’re just dealers.”  

[FACT: all paintings hung on the walls have tags stating the artist’s name.  There are many artists.]

Woman:  “Oh.  Oh—well, do you know anything about paintings?”  no, I sell Volkswagens.  maybe try next door?

Me:  “Yes.  Sure.”

Woman:  “Oh great, well, I have—I just have a quick question…” [walks into back room]

Woman:  “I’m an artist and I—I was just wondering…what are all these wavy lines on the surface of the painting?”  wavy lines? 

[FACT: there are no wavy lines on the surface of the painting.]


[FACT: artists never buy anything.]


Me:  “I think that’s just…I think that’s the weave of the canvas.”

Woman:  “Really?”  

Me:  “Yeah, see, it’s—uh—painted really thin, right, and he’s varnished it heavily, so it doesn’t look thin and brushy but you can still see the texture.”

[FACT: there are no wavy lines.  This is bullshit.]

Woman:  “Oh, yeah—I guess.”

Woman:  “So—varnish—is that a common thing?”

[FACT: most oil paintings are varnished.]

Me:  “Yes.”

Woman:  “Do all artists do it?  I mean—is it just supposed to make the painting glossy or—”


Woman: “So, do they varnish watercolors too, or—”  dear woman you are stupid please get out of my store love—

Me:  “No.  No, watercolor paint soaks into the paper.  You have to keep them under glass.”

Woman:  “Right.  Yes, I know that.”  right.

Woman:  “Well, thank you.  It’s such an inspiration to come in here—it’s great to see what other artists blah blah blah blah blah blah [implication that other artists’ work inspires one’s own, which, by implication, is at least as good as, or better than, theirs.]”


[MORAL: Volkswagens might be simpler.]


5 Responses to “the varnished truth”

  1. 1 Mary Beth August 21, 2006 at 3:21 am

    Wow. What fine specimens of the human race you have up there in Damariscotta. Wow.

  2. 2 Jen August 21, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    I think I figured it out! She was speaking in code:

    “I’m an artist” = “I’m a drug addict”

    “What are all these wavy lines” = “I keep seeing all of these wavy lines. Do you see the wavy lines too? Am I the only one seeing the wavy lines? What do the wavy lines MEAN?!”

    “So-varnish-is that a common thing? …Do all artists do it?” = “Can I get a good high off of this?”

    “Right. [etc]” = “Right right right BYE”

  3. 4 jenlinnan August 23, 2006 at 12:14 am

    And now a comment about varnish:


  4. 5 Lisa August 27, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    Dear Sir,

    What is this weird colored substance that appears to be caked on all of these paintings? Is it removable upon purchase?


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