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rita dreams of somewhere | oil on panel

Eeny Meeny
This is one of my favorite paintings that I’ve done recently. My paintings are like my children, or at least they’re like children that I don’t mind selling. Before those crazy-angry emails start arriving, let me be clear: I’m not advocating that you sell your children or your paintings for that matter. I’m just trying to say that parents aren’t supposed to have favorites. But like Momz used to say, “Sometimes, you simply like one of your children more than the others. It can’t be helped. Which one you favor, depends on who can make Mommy the best dirty martini.”

A Handicap to Overcome
Rita‘s a pretty girl with style, dressed in nice colors, and she’s got that look that makes you pause and wonder. But let’s face it, that describes all of my children (says the disillusioned parent). What I like about Rita, though, is that she’s a bit twisted. Seriously, she’s literally twisted. It’s difficult to tell, but her wooden board’s warped and looks as if someone tried to wring it like a wet towel. It’s uneven, the right edge is beveled at 45 degrees, and there are cracks and rough spots all over it. While crafting Rita into an image of my own liking, I figured I’d have to fill some of the cracks, smooth the edges, and cover up her imperfections.
To which Rita replied, “What? You want to hide what I am in order to make me beautiful? Because I don’t fit your standard of beauty? Check it, I am not a ridiculous, plasticized pin-up in your teen dream. I will not try to look like everyone or anyone else because I am not mass-produced. I do not need to “put on my face,” wear fake nails or fake hair, and I will fake nothing to impress you. I am an au naturel, hand-made original. I, literally, am one-of-a-kind. And if you’d like some scantily-clad, painted-up, bs-notion of perfection, hop up on that treadmill, squeeze your own swollen ass into a thong and get started.” Wait. Maybe that was an ex-girlfriend who said that.

Picture Perfect
Rita reminds me that trying to conform to the standards of others doesn’t leave much room to be unique or interesting. And in a world that seems more concerned about the way things look rather than the way things are, I guess I’m partial to the kid who’s developed the audacity to be a bit different. I like the one who teaches me that flaws can be exposed, embraced, and turned into something inspiring and original. Perhaps that’s just parental bias; even though this kid is my favorite, everyone else may only tolerate it.

Many thanks to Rita for the submission to The Hunert Faces Project. In my eyes, it’s perfect.

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