The Leaf

Icy Leaf

A little over a decade ago I took a picture of a leaf encased in ice and snow. I played around with the picture in Photoshop and came up with what I thought was a real cool image. The leaf looked like it was glowing with its own light. I showed it to a friend who owned an art gallery. He got excited and said I needed to make a painting based on the photo. He said to make sure the male torso was clearly visible.

Male torso?

OK, so I messed around with sketches and came up with a torso. I made a few adjustments and started on the painting.

When I was about half done my friend came by and looked at the painting in horror.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“It’s the leaf you wanted me to paint,” I said. “See I even put in the torso.”

“No, no, no, no,” he said. “This is not the same thing at all. The photo was sensual, a little sexy and slightly erotic. This is, is, well, banal. Or worse. I see no reason for its existence.”

So that was the end. I put the painting away and haven’t looked at it since.

Today I found some sketches and thought about the incident for the first time in ages.

First I want to say that I’m straight. No matter how long I look at a male’s torso I don’t see sensual, sexy or erotic. I can see beauty in form, but sensual? No.

Next, to me the photo was cool because the leaf seemed to be glowing out of the blue ice. I hadn’t gotten to the point in the painting to make it glow.

Also, when I was designing the painting I wanted the torso to be something sensed rather than seen. Subliminal. I was also thinking about a dead, dried leaf in ice and wanted something a little sad, not sexy.

I just put a photo of a sketch into my computer and quickly colorized it. It’s not great, but might give you an idea of the painting I had in mind. If you don’t see the torso in the leaf, there’s a sketch of it in the lower right. The torso is seen from the back.  The left arm is raised and the head is bowed onto his chest.

There are times when you must bow to the inevitable and stop a beloved project. You need to put your energy into something worth your effort. There are other times, though, that you should ignore the expert (he was an expert) and follow your idea to the end.

I’m thinking I may dig the old canvas out, brush the dust off, and finish the painting.

What do you think? This is a quick sketch and the colorizing job isn’t great, but do you see potential? Should I finish the painting?

24 thoughts on “The Leaf

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  4. jackiemallon

    Absolutely, carry on! Writing, drawing, creating to someone else’s spec almost always ends up in disappointment for both sides. Finish it then invite people to see it and they will respond as they should!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks Jackie! I most likely will finish the painting, I’m just not sure when. It’ll most likely be sometime during the winter. I’ll be sure to post the results when I finish.

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  5. triciatallen

    I say finish it. The fact that you are sure, suggests that ‘the expert’ didn’t convince you to give up on your project. I think you should continue and see where it leads you. Only stop when you feel you should… Let us know how things go. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Hi Tricia. he may have convinced me at the time, but looking at it with fresh eyes a decade later I can see potential. I found the old canvas and find I like the sketch better so if I do continue I’ll have to rework it, but that’s not a hard thing. Finding time and dragging all of my painting supplies out is another matter.

      If I do finish it I’ll put u[p a post.

      Thanks for the comments!

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  6. M-R

    I like it for the realization that experts are so often entirely wrong.
    I don’t like it for your asking us. DON’T ASK US. Just do whatever your own feelings dictate.
    With which grumpy dictate I sign off. [grin]

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      And my grumpy reply is.. well, I’m having a hard time being grumpy, but I will say that the question was a bit of a blog trick. I tell the story and then ask the reader a question to try to get them more involved. Oops, I’m not supposed to say that out loud.

      I did locate the canvas before I left home yesterday and, well, I like the drawing better so if I do continue I’ll have to rework it. I just have to find time. Perhaps this winter. And don’t tell me to get started since it is winter down there ; ).

      Oh yes, I didn’t mention that the expert passed away a few years ago so I don’t have to worry about pissing him off for restarting, though his ghost may haunt me.

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      1. M-R

        I know it was. And I TOTALLY DISAGREE with that WP advice. I couldn’t give a rat’s (_|_) about being ‘pulled in’: I’m here reading posts and I will comment if I have anything to say.
        I’m not being as antsy as it may appear, Trent; when bloggers are more than capable of writing posts of interest, they have no need to throw out lines with bait on ’em …
        Of course, there are probably SOME … Just not around here ! :-)

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I’m away from home and can’t look for the story, but I Googled it and seeing the plot I remember reading the story long ago. He was the master of the bitter-sweet story.

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