Tuesday 20 November 2018

A Face in the Shadows?

The picture in question
An amusing story of accidental art..... or maybe NOT accidental? There hangs on our bedroom wall a perfectly good picture; a framed poster sized depiction of French café society. It is in the 'Impressionistic' style, so all dabs of colour suggesting people, parasols, advertising hoardings and so on but lacking any fine detail. We are both Francophiles and we love these pictures and objects that evoke France and especially café society, so we have a few knocking about the house.

This shows all the café elements crowding the paving in front of a row of cafés in a tree lined avenue; people sit with drinks or food, waiters in black waistcoats squeeze between tables taking orders or delivering trays of food. A fiddle player and an accordionist stand in the road, presumably serenading the customers. Two big white flat-cone parasols shade a group of customers and the mature trees cast a flecky shade on the buildings. I imagine that possibly this is the Bois de Boulogne or some leafy part of Paris but I also think that the picture is generic and modern, rather than a classic artwork. I can see no signature and a brief hunt around in Pinterest and on Wiki has not shown our picture up as a famous Monet, Manet or Renoir. I am happy to be corrected on that - my knowledge of the history of art is very sketchy.

Can you see the face?
But why is this of interest? Well the picture hangs on the wall directly facing you if you sit up in our bed, leaning on the headboard and gazing forwards across the 15 feet or so of bedroom as I, with lots of time on my hands at the moment, have frequently done. When I go to bed or for a nap, I have to spend a half hour or so upright while my lungs clear and calm down BEFORE I can lie down, otherwise I just start that ticklish cough and can never get to sleep. Not a major problem but I do get to spend hours looking at that wall and therefore that picture.

Get too close and the 'face' dissolves back into a mess of leaves
and white wall.
I was thinking I was 'losing it' and seeing things when I spotted, one day, a face at the top of the picture in a white patch. To me it looked like a perfectly good, handsome young man's face reminiscent of the classic Michelangelo stature of David, his head tilted slightly forward and his gaze down at the two musicians. Go up close to the picture and the face un-resolves into leaves, shadows and the white wall, but back at 15 feet away I could not 'un-see' it.

First frozen windscreen of 2018/9 winter
It took me a while to decide to ask Elizabeth had she seen it (she has enough worries about my health without thinking her husband is going gaga!), but when I sat her down on the bed and asked she was straight in there with "Oh yes! The face! That's why we have the picture!" It came from Mum-in-Law by all accounts and she'd spotted that face shortly after losing Theo. She had thought it looked a bit like him and had been a bit spooked by it as a result; no longer comfortable with the thing on her own house wall.

Back in the duck egg game. I think these are being laid by
Mumma-duck back on line, but it is possible that one of the
female 'babies' has now reached point of lay. White duck egg
is on right.
To me, it is such a clear face that I got to wondering whether hiding faces in your picture might be a thing. Do we just have a coincidence here or is it deliberate? Hence the Wiki searches, but I can find no word on this, so I will have to leave that to the art experts.

Almost complete restored chair. Just needs a
bit more waxing on the woodwork
Enough on shady faces, though.... what else have we been up to? The Woman of the House has come (regretfully) to the end of her run of evening classes on furniture restoration. She has thoroughly enjoyed these, as did many of her fellow 'students', so she is trying to set up some more classes for around Easter. Regular readers will recall a small bedside chest of drawers which was the first 'victim' of these labours, but the biggest share of the classes have involved the restoration of a much loved (by me) easy chair.

This piece needed all manner of work, so has been an excellent subject for applying the new skills and techniques. All the soft furnishings, webbing and detail had to be carefully removed (noting carefully how they were so that she could rebuild it!). The frame was also starting to sag backwards so that the legs were no longer vertical and the sides were going diamond shaped; that needed straightening and glue-ing.

30+ years of old varnish and dirt had to be stripped and sanded away from the wood so that it could be built back up with our home-grown beeswax polish. The cushion covers were dumped and new ones made using the sewing machine here. The back padding was completely rebuilt as new and I can vouch for its comfort and support. As the classes ended, the chair has now come home, though it still needs more polishing but it is superb and Elizabeth is (and should be) very proud of it. No pressure 'boss' for the 2nd chair - this one's partner!

Hey Dad! Sun's going down. Surely supper
Meanwhile the weather has turned bitingly cold and there was a first frozen windscreen for us this morning. One of the ducks has started into lay - we suspect this is Mumma-duck now done with her child rearing responsibilities for 2018 and come back on line. Sorry if these posts have gone a bit 'sporadic'. Enough for this one.

1 comment:

Care Towers said...

love the hidden face thing - I think it has to be deliberate, because once you point it out it shouts at you! Very clever though, especially as it un-resolves when you get close! Hope all's well your end