So, once upon a time, I had a boyfriend.
And somehow… (you’ve gotta supervise those devils every moment) …he wound up finding my art portfolios. I had two of those at the time, enormous, Weimaraner sized manila envelopes that held vast sheets of newsprint on which I’d drawn various and sundry highly educational subjects.
One of them was labeled “Clean.”
And the other was labeled “Dirty.”
Boyfriend dove head first into an assortment of charcoal drawings of landscapes and vases.
(Did I mention they have to be supervised constantly?)
These were charcoal drawings… I know I said that, but what I mean is, they were intended to make the student (in this case, me) look at both light and shadow with intent and purpose. You start out with a blank sheet of paper. Then, you cover every last inch in charcoal to make the whole thing a smooth middle gray. (Read “mess.”) And after that, if you want something to be white, you have to use your eraser. If you want things to be black, you have to use your charcoal. You can’t ignore light, shadow, or line.
And no matter how much fixative you spray on them, the charcoal comes off. On your hands… your clothes… your carpet.
In the sense of… for one semester, I had “art clothes.” The charcoal never really came out of them, although, after a while, they did get back to where you could sorta tell what color they used to be.
Well, you know we weren’t going out that night.
Well, he wasn’t, anyway. No place nice was going to let him in looking like that. (We do not open our girlfriend’s “dirty” portfolio while wearing a white shirt.)
The look of horror was still fresh on his face when I came up behind him and said, “So what do you think?”