Comportment, compotier

You cannot imagine what a thrill it was, the day I found my blue compotier.  I had loved Pierre Bonnard’s compotiers, scattered here and there through various paintings, sometimes filling a subordinate role, sometimes occupying center stage.  It is completely irrational to love an inanimate object that way, even if it is made of blue glass and has little tear-drop patterns around its roller-coaster-wavering rim.  The way that things are colored through it!  The way it stands so elegant and tall.  Crazy, perhaps, but Bonnard was crazy first and infected my brain through his pictures.

Last night I wasn’t sleepy.  So I stayed up with my compotier and made a series of drawings.  Here are the “apples of my eyes.”  After making the first, I was just getting warmed up, and I pulled out another sheet to sing another silent verse.  The second is a lot like the first.  I must have really believed what I drew since the two agree in many parts. 

For the third go around, nearing Three O’Clock in the Morning, I was ready for a little change of pace. 

A little off topic, but evidently there’s no American way of saying “compotier.”  American’s have to do it in as French a manner as they can manage.  As an Anglo word, the Brit’s have it all wrapped up.  [If you click on the little UK flag at the link, you’ll hear the British pronunciation.  Do note, that there’s no little American flag.  And the Australians and the Canadians …?  What they do with this word is anybody’s guess.  Is there an Australian in the house?]

Anyway,  I got some nice detail photos of the rim shot moments (hat tip to the late great Paul Squires of Gingatao).

I dare you to find a fish in there.  (Regular readers realize that I haven’t gone totally batty.”

No koi, just apples!

And after that it was to bed!  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Believing It

I took up the violin at age 47 when my daughter was a Suzuki student.   That was eight years ago.  For a variety of reasons, including that we have aimed our resources at teaching the kid, I haven’t had much instruction — a few lessons here and there over the years coming from a variety of different violinist acquaintances.  Mostly I taught myself to play by ear, listening to and trying to unravel the melodies of my favorite jazz musicians.   At first I sounded like I was torturing the cat (no offense to Alice, above, who also loves violin).  But over time I’ve gained an increasing understanding of my instrument and a growing confidence.

Nevertheless I was completely unprepared for what happened yesterday.  I was in the parking lot and a neighbor approached me, asking “are you the person who plays violin?”  In a building full of strangers that can be a somewhat scary question: is this going to be her nice opening way of telling me I have to pipe down, that she can hear me clear across the building?  But instead she said, “I crack my window open whenever you’re playing so I can hear it better.  I think your playing is just beautiful.”

I am still dumbfounded.  What a kind thing to say, what an amazing surprise, and am I beginning to be almost a real violinist?  After eight years….

Don’t tell yourself you “cannot” do something for reasons “x,” “y” and “z.”  When I began the violin, through all that cat-torturing phase, it was hard but somehow I felt an affinity to that violin and knew that playing it was “possible.” 

Believe it.  Do it.