Matisse’s painting of a bowl of goldfish in a darkened room, “guarded” by two cats tickled me. (Interior with Goldfish) It seemed to tell a story with several chapters; a story I’ve adapted in my paintings, many times over the past ten months that Covid has been prowling.
The Chapters I See in Matisse’s Painting
The first chapter is the quiet romance of just being in an apartment over-looking, I am thinking, the Seine in Paris, at night.
In the second chapter we see the wonder of the two silent cats – alert and surveying the possibilities. Possibly they are waiting for their humans to sleep?
Then, the goldfish – colorful captives that they are — are worth a chapter. They can see so much, but can not go anywhere but their bowl.Unless . . .
The Chapters I am Painting of Goldfish
I like painting goldfish, too – trying to give them a little personality, and tell a little story.
My first chapter also concerns a setting. I am in a pleasant place; maybe not as glamorous as a Paris flat, but, one for which I’m grateful.
Now, no critter is lurking in the dark, keeping watch over me. However, I do feel, je ne sais quoi, a wee bit edgy, apprehensive; no, I feel just F.I.N.E.!
Which brings me to my chapter three: why I keep painting those endangered goldfish!
I feel like the little goldfish . . . safe for now; but, OH! My!
Especially if I get bold and try to . . . escape.
Sigh . . .
Charles Dickens would feel quite at home, in our present fix I believe:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” ― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Or, in the words of Uncle Remus:
You can’t run away from trouble. There ain’t no place that far.*
Coincidence then, that I read in advice column recently a remedy for feeling antsy and prickly in a pandemic?
. . . [O]nce you’ve looked your sadness in the eye, felt it, accepted it — the next step is to put it in perspective. The secret to goodwill and good moods under changing conditions is to gather up whatever blessings remain, and get creative with them. You have time. (All I Want for Christmas is for You to do what I want for Christmas)
So, I keep painting goldfish in peril.
Fortunately, God suffers fools gladly, I think.
It’s part of His job, and it’s the only explanation
I can think of for my own survival.
— Mary Fairchild