"It is through realism that I try to call forth universal feelings... I look for subjects bathed in and sculpted by light." ~ Linda Kooluris DobbsDuring the summer between fifth and sixth grade my eyes went bad. Back in the stone age when I was in elementary school, they did rudimentary eye exams at the beginning of each year. Some of you might remember this... those big eye charts with the letters or the big "E's" and you were to motion the direction of the arms. In fifth grade I passed... in sixth grade, I couldn't see the big "E" at the top and it was off to the eye doctor and the beginning of a lifetime of glasses and contacts. I remember getting that first pair of glasses and the drive back home. It was amazing! The things I saw outside the car window that I had never noticed before! Then at home, details of the house that had simply escaped me.
Growing up we always had a piano AND a small organ in our house, not like the electronic keyboards young people would know today, but a REAL organ. Usually we kept these together, back to back in the living room. My mom is an accomplished pianist and organist. I took piano and violin for several years but they just didn't take me. Still, at the time I spent a lot of time at that piano.
What on earth does this have to do with the picture? Hold on. I'll eventually get there.
There was always the question of what to put between that piano and organ. Finally, my dad came up with the idea to build a large planter and set it between them. In that planter, Mom decided to put some plants. You must remember that this was in the 60's; in general there was a significant lack of good taste in the 60's. Come on, admit it. It was the height of the "plastic" era... plastic plates, plastic utensils and plastic plants. How anyone ever thought those plastic foliage plants looked even remotely real, escapes me; but that is what was put in the top of the planter, plastic plants embedded in a large green styrofoam block. They were all green.... green leaves, green flowers, green stems, and green grapes.
Yes, when I walked in that house and looked at the planter for the first time after getting my glasses, I saw the green grapes. I had NEVER seen the green grapes nestled down in the green foliage between the green flowers before. The planter contents had just been a green blur. This must have been a shocking revelation to a little girl; that her eyes had been so bad she could not see the details of life around her and that the planter contents were so... well, so... ugly!
Fortunately, that planter and the plastic arrangements are long gone. In fact, all the plastic flower arrangements, even the one that made up the base of my favorite bedside lamp, are gone. Hopefully, all the plastic flower arrangements everywhere are gone. With the advent of silk flowers... we've moved on. Right.
Anyway, today we have the advantage of very realistic, fake arrangements. Take my "fruit" bowl. It has bananas, apples, oranges, pomegranates and grapes; not green and not plastic, more of waxy and light weight rubbery... but not real either. Were I a little girl just finding out that her eyesight required glasses, I would not likely confuse these grapes with the apple or pomegranate would I? Not likely. But then again, I might have thought they were real.
Looking back at this post, I have no idea why these grapes brought that memory back. This was just going to be my "still life" picture for Carmi's theme and my "red" picture for Ruby Tuesday. So, let it be.
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