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Monday Nov 07, 2011

Art Imitates Life

tan girl
Tan Girl (detail)

Some years ago when my dear mother, Adele, would visit me in Los Angeles, we would often trek down from my house in the Hollywood Hills to the Starbucks opposite the Beverly Center on La Cienega Boulevard.

This Starbucks was one of their flagship stores with lots of open space, huge windows, and live music in the early afternoon. We would spend quality time there, as she had her tea or decaf, and I a cappuccino. I always brought my color pencils and museum quality art papers.

On this occasion, we were sitting at a table near one of the windows that overlooked a small plaza with outside tables. I began drawing, and my mother took in her favorite sport: people watching. A young couple sat down at the outside table directly across from the window. They were talking in earnest and we could see their profiles.

The girl’s deep tan was offset by her wavy blond hair.

By this time, I had been working for about a half hour on my drawing; and it already contained a fully developed profile of a young woman. “Take a good look at the girl’s profile in the window,” I said, and my mother did.

I then showed her my color pencil drawing. Adele brought her hand to her mouth in a wildly excited gasp. The girl in my drawing was the precise look-alike of the girl beyond the window.

“How can this be?” Adele said. “It can’t be a coincidence.”

I shrugged. “Ma, it’s art magic in the afternoon.”

My mother smiled and kissed me on the cheek, as a string quartet played in the background.