Friday, May 9, 2014
Spiders and Snakes
I'll be the first to admit: I don't like spiders! I'm a total arachnophobe -- and it doesn't bother me to say that. I hate their webs -- the kind one can walk into -- even more!! Thankfully, we don't get those species here in the desert.
I remember seeing a floral painting by a Dutch artist at the Getty Center in Los Angeles -- beautifully-rendered flower arrangement ... with a small web in the upper corner of the image with a spider on the web, and another hanging by a thread nearby. The spiders and web ruined the painting, as far as I'm concerned! If it were for sale and I had the money, I wouldn't buy that painting.
As you might guess, I've never painted any spiders in my works, and I never will.
By that same token, I've never painted any snakes either. Now, I'm NOT a snake-o-phobe. I rather like them, although I often feel badly for their victims. But I don't respond to the sight of a snake as I do a spider.
However, some people hate snakes the way I hate spiders. In fact, "spiders and snakes" is a phrase that places the critters together. Both are pretty creepy in people's minds.
But that's why I don't paint snakes. I would not want to ruin the viewing experience (especially for a potential customer) by placing a snake in the image area.
Nineteenth-century artist Thomas Moran (my #1 artist hero) created a large work showing the Grand Canyon in Arizona. In it, if you look carefully enough, is a small rattlesnake. Perhaps Moran was trying to tell us of both the beauty AND the dangers of the Wild West. (I never saw any spiders in the composition -- I assume TM didn't put any into the painting. Good decision, Tom!)
Well, maybe someday I'll do something like that. I know there are people who like snakes, even rattlesnakes (providing the rattlers don't get too close). I'm curious to know if such a painting would sell readily to snake lovers! And it would be a piece that I'd love to hang on my wall in case the painting didn't sell.
There would be any spiders in the artwork, however. ☺