Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Having a brother who is an accomplished painter and illustrator has its advantages. For example, let’s say you suddenly need an unflattering portrait of your baby with the head of former president Bush. Bam. Consider it done. Enter…the closet.
Elijah has a tiny, coffin-like closet in his room. At some point last December we floated the idea of turning it into a play area, complete with a Steve Hamann original mural. Steve was excited about the project, so long as we paid him in beer. After Diana suggested the motif be “jungle.” Steve said, “cool,” and predicted it would take 2 weeks from start to finish. Do you see where this is going?
The first thing that comes to mind when you see Steve’s paintings is “Whimsical.” Unfortunately for me, his official assistant, the second thing that comes to mind is “Meticulous.” Every Wednesday, Steve and I would cram ourselves into the coffin and he would instruct me to paint an area. I’d slop on some green with a roller and shout, “beer break!” I’d turn to Steve and realize he had yet to finish a single leaf in the jungle.
Over the weeks and weeks and weeks (and weeks), rainforests in South America would grow, be cut down and grow again while Steve shaded in an eyeball on a bird that you could only see with a magnifying glass.
Granted, a large portion of his work was repairing the damage I was doing. I’d proudly announce the completion of a lion and he’d speak to me like one of his third grade students. “Gee, if you close one eye and squint it does look like a lion. Or possibly a worm.” And then he’d commence turning it into a real lion.
After a couple months I was relegated to “official leaf shader.”
As Winter gave way to Spring, Diana started inquiring when we thought the painting would be done and when Elijah would cease being banished from his own closet. Steve’s patented response was, “We’re close.”
Well, it’s May. And Steve still thinks we’re close. Diana has had enough and put in carpet and toys and pillows. And wouldn’t you know it? Eli has no interest in the closet coffin. He’ll poke his head in and say, “elephant,” but then return to the non-coffinness of his room.
Diana, however, loves it. She uses it as her hiding place and library and nap-coffin. And I can see why. Take a look at the pictures. It’s pretty freaking cool.
Incidentally, Steve is coming over tonight to work on it. If you want to see his other meticulous paintings, go to his website: stevehamannart.com.