Friday, June 01, 2012

The Velvet Painting That Inspired Me

In the book I am currently working on, there is a Great Hall where portraits of The Great Muses hang. Now, these aren't just any portraits/paintings. These portraits are velvet paintings. It's so campy and 1970's, I know, but as I was writing the story...it just felt right to have those portraits be velvet. Then, as I was walking through my grandparents house, it occurred to me that it wasn't a total random thought for The Great Muses to be painted on luxurious velvet. There was a seed planted in my brain.

Walking down the narrow basement stairs at my grandparents house, the first thing anyone would see to their right was a velvet portrait. The basement would not be complete without it. This portrait could also give people nightmares. Are you afraid of clowns? Please, come down to the basement...I have something to show you. Do sad clowns give you night terrors? They do?! Take my hand. What? This clown portrait calls out to Cthulhu? Oh, stop. Now you're just being dramatic.

I think I remember my mom saying once that the portrait was my grandpa -- if he were a sad clown stuck inside a velvet painting. I'm sure she was just kidding, but that never left me. I don't think he sat for this painting while some crazy decided to make him a clown instead of himself, but my grandpa was fairly serious and there's nothing more serious (albeit contradictory) than a sad clown. What's even more serious? A sad, hobo clown.  As much as I would love to hang this painting in my house, there's just no place to put it. The only thing I would really use it for would be Halloween. When the kids ring the doorbell, I would answer the door with it in my hands and say something like, "I'm painting portraits instead of handing out candy..." and just smile.

This is the velvet painting that wedged itself into my brain. This, here, is the sole reason that they exist in my novel. I think it's kind of wonderful and horrible all at the same time.