Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Heart Will Go On

Sometimes, if you're very lucky, you have a friend for a great number of years who is complex and interesting and quirky and smart and absolutely loves the goofy gifts you give because you're too poor to buy presents for everyone. Every year, I am faced with a simple challenge: think of the best gift possible for my friend Jamie.

We were college roommates during the 98-99 school year. The year prior, the film Titanic as released, capturing the hearts and minds of all the people, everywhere. I didn't favor it much, but there's no denying it was beautifully crafted and appealing to those attracted to tragic romances. I admit to falling madly in love with Kate Winslet during that action packed 4 hours.

The scene that stood out, of course, to me, especially as an artist, was the scene where Leo draws a nude portrait of fair Kate while wearing the fancy jewelry owned by her icky fiance, Billy Zane. While sharing a dorm with Jamie, I was commissioned by a local businessman to do a portrait of his assistant in the style of that seen in the movie. Not nude, unfortunately. Not even reclining. Still, the sentiment was the same.. wait, what? No, really, he had me draw her child into the drawing as well. It was totally appropriate, I'm sure. At any rate, I completed the sketch, the movie's popularity eventually faded and that French Canadian woman's song stopped haunting my nightmares.

The seed had been planted, however. For the entire year we lived together, all of my art was greeted with a gasped, delighted "Monet!", a la Leo, but, that particular "In the style of Titanic" commission led to a new kind of silliness. Jamie would come back from her shower, twirling the belt of her robe, handing me a dime so I would draw her. I never did. It was a joke between us that I could, but I never did. Until this, her 32nd birthday.

In an odd coincidence, she was watching the movie the night before her birthday, as I was drawing it and, due to our history and joking, GUESSED that I was going to do this. I didn't capture the likeness, but I also haven't worked in charcoal for several years. When thinking up what I could use to censor the image (We live in Ohio), I was considering a stack of books, a travel coffee mug, a can of hairspray and a bust of Elvis. Think final scene of the first Austin Powers movie. I went with something classic, timeless.

Drawn from memory, too. *wink*