The guest who arrived the day family departed was one of my ex-students. She is an absolute delight and we were so pleased that she took time out of her busy trip to California to spend some of it with us. As noon last Wednesday approached—her scheduled time to hit the road, she announced that she needed a few minutes to browse through my prints once again. I was thrilled that she wanted to spend a few more minutes with my work and I encouraged her take her time with her final tour. After all, her energy was a tonic for us and I hated to see her leave.
She moved slowly from one viewing section to another, hall to room to another hallway, then said, "I brought one blank check with me just on a whim." I didn't grasp the meaning of the sentence and how it connected with her tour of the prints. It turned out she wanted to buy a framed print. I was taken aback, but obviously pleased at the turn of events.
After considerable deliberation, she returned again to the image above (repeated posting here), and said that she couldn't resist the one with the gremlin on his back. I chuckled because when I completed that piece, I hadn't a single thought about gremlins. Then Steve Weeks (Steve doesn't have a blog to link to. Wish he did) posted a comment and asked about the creature on the horse's back. Well, of course, since that time, I can't not see the beast. How I ever missed it is now beyond me.
After Steve's comment, my first impulse, frankly, was to fix it. I seriously considered reworking the piece immediately, reprinting, and ridding the horse of his gremlin burden. But, the more I thought about it the more I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. That gelding has had a demon on his back for years. He was, apparently, mistreated as a youngster and never fully regained his trust in humans. He was a one-woman horse. You could easily sense the wildness in him. Since I have often talked about allowing my subconscious mind to play its role in my creative life, it seemed quite hypocritical to deny all that by throwing out something that made it all the way to print and show without my conscious mind ever catching on. To deny my work philosophy along with the horse's story and erase these influences after the fact didn't ring true. Ultimately, I let the work stand.
It seemed fitting that there was surprise to complete the strange story of this image. The last thing on my mind while our charming guest was with us was art sales. Her purchase was a delicious surprise and I shouldn't have been shocked that she chose a piece that had already offered some surprises.
Update: The material in this post (with slight revisions) is currently posted at my Fine Art Prints blog.