Conversations Around This Painting

This self-portrait was photographed at night so the colors appear warmer than they really are.

I finished my self-portrait yesterday. Jim and I tend to talk about what I am painting and it’s often comical because we have very different tastes in art, plus we are married so we tend to not mince words. He surprises me sometimes with what he says. He can simultaneously be my worst critic and my biggest cheerleader. I think that is a good thing. Here are a few conversations we had around this painting.

When I first started sketching it I started with a bird:

Me: What do you think so far?

Jim: That’s a nice horse.

Me: It’s a bird!

Jim: What? Wait, let me look at it again.

That’s when I ordered one of these.

drawing eraser
The eraser of my dreams. It magically turns horses into birds.

I also cried to my friends on Facebook. I erased their faces and names to protect the innocent from my shenanigans. One person empathized and the other basically told me I might be a genius. At least, that is how I chose to read it.

Facebook shot.
Just me and a couple of artistic types commiserating and being geniuses together.

Then Jim had a dream:

Jim: Last night I dreamt that you became a famous artist and we traveled all over the world showing your paintings.

Me: Really?

Jim: Yeah, it was really cool, except nobody could remember my name. They kept calling me “Lillian’s husband.” It was weird because I am not used to that. I am used to being the main guy.

Me: That bothered you?

Jim: It did at first, until I remembered that you were rich and famous and I didn’t have to work anymore. Then I kind of liked the idea.

bird and flower art painting
Close up progress shot on the bird that was almost a horse.

Then there was Tiny-Small:

Tiny-Small: That my Mama.

Me: That’s right. You can recognize me?

Tiny-Small: (picks up paint brush) I help. I make it better.

Me: Noooooooooo!

Close up progress shot of my face. Tiny-Small thought the masking fluid on my nose was honey.


Me: I finished my painting.

Jim: Let me see.

<Long awkward silence>

Me: I know the eyes are a little weird.

Jim: Yeah, you have some crazy eyes.

Me: I think it’s because the eye on the right is bigger.

Jim: Yep.

Me: But, my left eye really is bigger than my right eye.

Jim: Yep. It looks just like you.

Me: Yeah, my eyes are a little weird.

Jim: You just have googly eyes.

Me: Thanks.

Jim: <snicker>

This is what my dining room table looks like right now. Don’t ever marry an artist unless you prefer to eat standing up.

Last night when we went to bed:

Jim: When you finish photographing your painting we should frame it and hang it up.

Me: Yeah.

Jim: I don’t know though, it’s so big. Do we have frames it would fit into?

Me: It’s not that big, we have some frames.


Me: I guess it is kind of a big painting of me. Is it weird to hang up a giant painting of yourself in your own house? It seems kind of weird.

Jim: We could hang it in the bedroom.

Me: You won’t feel weird, like I am staring at you all the time?

Jim: Nope.

Me: OK, at least in the bedroom people won’t see it right away when they walk in the front door.

Jim: True.

How it all began.


Now I just have to get some really good amateur photos of my self-portrait art and submit it to the Jerry’s Artarama self-portrait contest. If I win, I will owe it all to my family. They teach me how to enjoy life and how to laugh at myself daily. This is important because I tend to take myself way too seriously. I am lucky to have humor and conversation in my life.


P. S. Don’t forget to check out Fiction Friday. Start with Molly Field and follow the links from there!


24 thoughts on “Conversations Around This Painting”

    1. It’s good to have someone be brutally honest to you. Otherwise you’d never improve, right? Thanks! I am pretty proud. It’s the best self-portrait I have made so far.

  1. Jim sounds like a great critic. It’s hard to grow and improve with false flattery. It’s much better to have the truth spoken by someone who loves you and wants the best for you.

    1. Exactly! Plus, we tend to kid each other a lot. It’s pretty funny. I trust his judgment more because I know he is being honest. I don’t always agree with him, but at least I know what he really thinks.

  2. That came out really nice. If it’s one of those contests that rely on votes from the public, be sure to link it so we can all vote for you. I hope you win.

  3. OMG. This was hilarious. “I help. I make it better.” LOVE Tiny Small.

    Also, Brian and I have the conversation about when I am famous and he doesn’t have to work anymore. He can’t wait. It’s kind of adorable.

    1. If you think that was funny, I was just getting links from my Etsy store. Tiny-Small came in and asked, “What dat, Mom?” I told her, “Those are my paintings. I am hoping to sell them and get rich so we can go on vacation.” She laughed and said, “Oh you funny, Mama.”

      Seriously, where did this kid come from?!

    2. Also, the whole getting rich and famous dream is kind of adorable…even though it is TOTALLY going to come true.

  4. Love reading about your real life conversations! Your self-portrait is awesome and this little girl of yours she has the best words, have to love love her xxx

    1. She is so smart. Her favorite thing to do is to paint over my paintings. I am sure she finds much satisfaction in the improvements she makes.

    1. Thank you, Ann! My husband just rolls his eyes at me…haha! When it gets warmer I will move back into my studio.

  5. 1. My hubz is also my greatest critic and cheerleader all rolled into one. We are lucky. Not everyone has that. My hubz knows when I write something in a half-assed fashion, and he calls me on it EVERY. DAMN. TIME. Which is ultimately for the best, as it forces me not to be lazy, and to always try my best.

    2. I love your painting. My stick people are questionable at best, so your self-portrait is simply fabulous. That sounded like I’m comparing our arts. Which isn’t the case, since I have no arts to compare. Your arts not only exist, they are also pretty.

    3. Why can’t I compliment people in a normal, acceptable manner? “You make art.” WTF is that??? 🙁

    1. Stick people can be awesome so maybe you do have art to compare. Besides being “normal” is so boring.

      We are lucky! We have husbands who push us even though we might occasionally find that push annoying. That’s true love, right?

  6. Now I know how the other side feels – I usually play Jim’s role in my relationship. But my better half is much more sensitive than you I suppose then – when I comment on his drawings (he asks me to!) and have some unpleasant things to say he just leaves the room and comes back after few hours (doing god knows what). So, Lily, what am I suppose to say when I dislike something about his work? Is it better to be silent or find the middle route? It gets really confusing sometimes!

    1. This is not an easy thing. At the very least say one good thing for every bad. I think if it causes problems in your relationship it might be best to leave the criticism to someone else. Sometimes we take the most offense when we know someone is speaking the truth. I have found, in some instances, that being right is not as important as getting along!

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