In last week’s post, I wrote about my painting of people dancing at the Nevada County Fair. The work had been commissioned by the county’s Board of Supervisors to decorate the county’s newly constructed administrative center. After the painting was installed, I left California and spent a few months painting in Spain. When I returned to the U.S., a message on my studio’s answering machine cast a shadow on my happy homecoming. A gruff male voice in a menacing tone demanded that I phone him: “Hey, are you the guy that did that painting that’s in the new county building? The people dancing? Well, I got something to tell you. You call me right away, you hear?”
I couldn’t imagine why this man was angry, but his tone of voice led me to expect the worst. Had I painted him dancing with someone else’s wife? Or equally unfortunate, had I depicted his wife dancing with someone she wasn’t supposed to be dancing with?
I waited until the next day to return his call.