The Late Great Parking Lot Muse

This is a modified revisiting of a drawing I did in the seventies. That old thing is long gone, whether given away or lost in a move, I don’t know, or care. That one was a three-color (red, turquoise and yellow) fine-tipped felt maker drawing on a 20 in. x 30 in. piece of poster board, crosshatched to make tones in intermediary colors. That’s how I made art in the days before Photoshop, before computers, even.

In those olden times, I rented an apartment in a suburb of a large Midwestern city and I now own a townhouse in a suburb of a mid-sized east coast city. The old drawing was the view from the parking lot looking up at the bedroom window. This new art/post is that scene, a mise en abyme, as a painting next to the view of the parking lot from that window. 40 years later, the scene is the same.

Back then was before I had a career, now is after that career. I had a job then, I hated it. The career, I had mixed feelings about. The job I have now, I like. The old job didn’t pay much, neither does the present one, and for that matter neither did the career, but I get by. I was not married then;  I was married; I am not married now. 40 years later, the life is the same, almost.

Most of my art back then was wishful thinking. I would visualize the hope that a woman I found interesting would find me likewise. I drew such ‘visions’ before and after my ill-fated marriages, but never during them. solitude, or perhaps loneliness, seemed to be my muse.

But the old drawing redrawn in the new one is a little different, content-wise. The silhouette in the window of the old one makes a toast to the parking lot muse. What’s being made in the window of the new one is a painting. It’s another art in an art, in this art. Before I thought this –possible, but not probable– woman would add to my life, I didn’t think much about what she’d take away. Now, I know that cost. And she has become more a model than a muse.

In the new art/drawing/post we see the futility of it all; the empty space in the ‘real’ parking lot vs. the one in the painting occupied by an enticing and imaginary woman. ‘Paint as you will, would-be artiste; the scene remains a soliloquy, no pax de deux for you!’ In this dramatic switch to second person, then back… do I mutter on in reflection, in another mise en abyme? Or is there a remnant eidolon of the hope that was real back then?

“…The body lurking there within thy body,
The only purport of the form thou art, the real I myself,
An image, an eidolon….”

From Walt Whitman’s “Eidolon”

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