February 6, 2011
Do you remember the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the relatives of the main character would spit at the newlyweds to wish them good luck? Well, I don’t believe in these kinds of superstitions. I found it funny when I learned that Pavarotti would look for a bent nail before going on stage. All these black cats and horseshoes and people who bring us good look, and people who take it away – I think it’s all in our heads. However, I do believe that these thoughts can make their way to your material reality once you start to believe them. It’s our faith that makes them real.
Still, I would prefer if somebody wished me good luck in some more pleasant manner. For example, with a simple and sincere smile. A diamond necklace wouldn’t be bad either.
I’m saying all this so that you wouldn’t think that I’m looking for patterns among coincidences when you read the following text. I just don’t know how to explain them sometimes.
Two years ago, a couple was supposed to visit me, in order to view, and possibly purchase a painting of mine that they saw on my website. I knew that they had a three-year-old daughter and a newborn baby. Naturally, I wanted to make sure that their visit would take place with as much comfort and consideration as possible. I baked some cookies. I bought a big bouquet of fresh peonies. The room was filled with the smell of freshly brewed tea.
My potential clients arrived right on time. They were with their children. As soon as they came in and rolled in the baby stroller, a painting fell off my wall right behind my back. My cat yelped and sought refuge under the bed. The baby started to cry, and the older sister looked at her mother uneasily.
A few minutes later, everyone was calm and relaxed once again, and we went on with our program of drinking tea, eating cookies, and viewing my paintings. Imagine my surprise when, instead of choosing the painting they were initially interested in, they walked away with the one that fell off the wall. We were joking about how the painting was impatient to be taken away to their place.
This summer, I had an exhibition at a well-known local gallery. I brought two paintings, which they hung beside one another. People were walking in and out during the reception. The door would open and close, bringing with it a certain gust of air. You would think that the air would affect all or most of the things it would reach. However, only one of the paintings started tilting on the wire. Guess which painting was bought the next day.
That’s all very well, but the most confusing and embarrassing thing happened yesterday. Once again, I was preparing for a visit from some art collectors. One of them was a young woman who had already bought a painting from me before, and the other was her dad. She had sent me an e-mail, telling me that she fell in love with a painting she saw on my website. There is a certain pattern that I’ve noticed throughout my life - as soon as there is a person who would like to purchase one of my works, there appears somebody else who expresses interest in the exact same work. The young woman, of course, had the priority spot. First of all, she was initial contender. Second of all, she had expressed her feeling so strongly in her e-mail. What could be more important for an artist than knowing that somebody fell in love with your work?
Once we had set up our meeting, I decided to display the painting on the wall where it looked the most presentable. No matter how I tried to set it straight, it would always tilt on one side. When the collectors arrived, they saw that the painting wasn’t hanging straight. I tried to shift it once again, and, with a loud noise, down it tumbled. I thought I would die of laughter or embarrassment. My guests looked at me with slight suspicion. How could I explain that this painting no longer wanted to live with me?
There is an old superstition among Russian painters, that if a painting falls down on its own, it will definitely be bought. So, how can I still not believe in superstitions?
Have you had any stories like that?