The Fine Art of Art Appreciation

Every morning, our local TV station announces the occasion we should be celebrating on that particular day. For instance, Tuesday was “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day,” and Saturday will be a combination of “National Hugging Day” and “Squirrel Appreciation Day.”

Connie and I are a little undecided as to how we should celebrate Saturday. Do we invite a few of the little bushy-tailed rodents over to share a bowl of mixed nuts and a group hug, or do we host a neighborhood hug-a-thon and serve squirrel and dumplings?

If you’re looking for an occasion to celebrate, a complete list of daily holidays can be found at http://www.holidayinsights.com/

Welcome to Friday Flash Fiction, I do hereby proclaim this Curly-Haired Hostess Appreciation Day in honor of our very own Shirley Dimples Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to participate in this weekly exercise in madness, head over to her blog for instructions. To rent a cubby in the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

copyright – Dale Rogerson

The Fine Art of Art Appreciation

Two doors down, the theme in art class appeared to be Michelangelo with Play-Doh.

“Ms. Dubois,” said Marta. “I’d like you to meet Mrs. Crofton, Saul and Jezebel’s grandmother.”

“Call me Krystal.” The young lady extended a dough-covered hand.

From past experience, I had developed a tendency to lump all art teachers into two categories. They were either idealistic dreamers, or stoners who could look at a misshapen glob of clay and spew with enthusiasm, “Oh, wow, Michael! That’s the most beautiful butterfly I’ve ever seen.”

“No it’s not,” Michael would respond. “It’s a giraffe, you blind cow.”


The little scene above is an excerpt from The Academy of Spoiled Rotten Brats, a short story which will be included in my upcoming book, One Idiot Short of a Village.

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52 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Art Appreciation

  1. Dear Michael,

    As a Kansas City Art Institute drop out I relate to this story on many levels. Many of my instructors fell into the stoner category. On the other hand an awful lot of sculpture from there required being stoned to appreciate them. That’s one of the many reasons I decided that having a baby would be more productive (and that’s another story). Another reason might be that I was much better at playing hooky than appreciating art.
    Thank you for the informative link. Viva la Celebration!

    Shalom,

    Shirley Dimples

    1. Dear Dimples,
      Art was my favorite class, even though the teacher didn’t invite me to get stoned with her. She let us bring records from home and we often listens to the Beatles, Creedence, and Steppenwolf while creating works of wonder (as in, wonder what that is?).

      I too, excelled at playing hooky, but that was usually reserved for skipping Science, which I absolutely hated. Glad you found the link useful for planning your daily celebrations.

      Here’s to art,
      Michael

      1. Can’t predict about OWL in February. Our house is one of the featured gardens in 16th Annual Flower, Garden, and Nature Society Tour coming up in June. Connie has a list of “fix-its” as long as a giraffe’s neck that she wants done between now and then. When we were a tour stop in 2012, about 300 people came to visit. She views this event as a big, big deal.

    1. It sounds like you have a couple of well-raised and polite children. They probably get together later and say, “Did you see that hippo Dad made? And he thinks it’s a giraffe–geez.”

  2. Ahhh…. art class… I sucked. Royally. Somehow the “artiste gene” passed from my father over to my nieces, skipping my sister and me, The youngest has some natural talent but prefers to take other people’s money as a croupier at the Casino!

    1. Well, maybe you didn’t get stoned enough before class. That’s the secret to blowing yourself away with your own creativity. Of course, when you come down from your high you realize your masterpiece actually resembles a cow pattie with ears. Or at least mine did.

    1. Being selected as a site on the garden tour is quite an honor. Connie was a professional gardener for a number of years. We will have both flower and vegetable gardens on display.

      I’m going to have to hurry if I get enough squirrel for everyone on Saturday. I only saw two or three on the road this morning. I hate it when I have to fight the buzzards for them.

    1. That instructor was definitely a blind bovine. Your work is beautiful.
      I’m just glad Saturday isn’t Armadillo Appreciation Day. There’s no way I’m serving Possum on the half-shell.

    1. Thanks for catching that, Tracey. The child doesn’t have a speech impediment or any manners. In my opinion, he could use an attitude adjustment, but he’ll likely grow up to be an orange-haired bully who wants to run for president.

  3. I have a question or three, Russy baby, what colour are your squirrels?
    (Ooh, er, missus, that’s cheeky!)
    Ours used to be red, now they are grey.
    Does this mean they all got old at the same time, or was there an insufficiency, perchance, of hugs being perpetrated?
    When did you become the resident expert on small creatures and their nuts?
    With regards (at last) to your entertaining little tale, I am reminded of the song:
    Play-doh a deer, a female deer
    It’s AnElephant, you blind cow!

    1. I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read the last line of your song. That makes much more sense than a giraffe. No wonder the stoned art teacher couldn’t tell the difference.

      As for our squirrels, we used to have both red and grey, but today most are grey as well. Society has not been kind to the fuzzy little nut-crackers. Many of them have become so depressed they are committing suicide by throwing themselves in front moving vehicles. It’s sad. Perhaps a few hugs could have made all the difference.

  4. I’d rather eat Play-doh than a squirrel, Russ. But you already knew that.

    And I’m pretty sure Squirrel Appreciation Day has more to do with appreciating them as little busy critters, not as a cuisine. But, like art (Play-doh and otherwise), this is up for interpretation. 😉

    Here’s an idea: combine the two holidays and give a squirrel a hug. If you’ve been meaning to get some exercise, this should help!

  5. I’m aware of your dietary concerns, Lorna, but I don’t recommend adding Play-Doh to your diet. While it is soft and can easily be formed to resemble squash, carrots, and Brussels sprouts, there’s a very good chance it could cause constipation and/or excessive gas.

    I have a problem getting too friendly with squirrels due to an incident where two of them ran up my pant legs and one remarked to the other, “Let’s eat one now and save the other for later.”

  6. My favorite art comment was on Johnny Carson playing Floyd Turbo. He was describing an abstract painting as, “Looks like my kid’s diaper after he ate a box off crayons.”

    How you managed to get Mr. AnElephant into the mix is great. Five out of five “Snorkies.” (ask Queen Dimples what that means)

    1. On my first trip to Chicago, I visited the museum of modern art. What a waste of $8. A crayon stained diaper would have been a huge improvement over anything I saw there.

      I think Mr. AnElephant has an affinity for sculpting miniature images of himself from pink Play-Doh. His comment had me rolling in the floor.

  7. The squirrels here seem to think they own my house, and I am just an interloper. They chatter at my guests when they walk to the side door, and when an ice dam caused the gutter to pull away from the house, they sneaked in and took over the attic 😖

    I never took an art class other than art history, but my first two years in college were spent as a music major–plenty of idealistic dreamers and stoners sprinkled among the serious musicians. That’s our version of “diversity”😄

  8. Hilarious, Russell. I took an art class in college and wish I’d taken something more useful. I’m good at practical creations like sewing, but things like collages left me cold. Collages seemed to be the “in” thing in the 60’s. Good comedy writing. 😀 — Suzanne

    1. I made a few collages myself. It wasn’t my favorite medium either. No one has figured out what I’m good at yet. I have dreams of mediocrity, which I hope someday to achieve.

  9. Being a mother and grandmother, I have honed the skill of art appreciation to perfection. Toilet roll middle and cornflake packets CAN resemble with uncanny accuracy a rocket, castle or farm.

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