Meditation on a Disastrous Painting Experience

“Did Cecilia Giménez burst in and finish that while you were out of the room?”

It’s actually quite useful to be living with the ghost of Brian Sewell, even if I don’t act like it all the time, and I only really lap up the criticism when it’s not really criticism at all.

But my dear partner was right, of course. I had somehow taken a mysterious, sylph-like creature into a bog-dwelling Jenny Greenteeth, in but three or four brush strokes.

“It’s okay, I’ll pull it back. You can be crap if you’re good.”

Saying something like this is just like turning to a crowd of your mates and saying “Hey, watch this!” before you prepare to jump the Grand Canyon on a pair of Argos roller skates. It got worse, yes it did.

Cecilia Giménez, if you remember, is the Helpful Lady of Borja, Spain, who decided to give Elías García Martínez a helping hand with his fresco, ‘Ecce Homo’. Now it seemed she had come to live with us, in North London, England.

This is a tale I can only really tell with the aid of photographic evidence, so I will share the horrors, whilst guiding you through my torturous three day, but felt like years, relationship with a disobedient painting.

Day 1, AM: Fondly recalled as the ‘good times’. A lot of flirting, ridiculous infatuation, in some part god-like complex that felt I could in fact walk on water, surely, as I was already walking on air with this gorgeous being. I loved the way she looked at me. She was keen on how I built her up. Everything was working out.

Day 1, PM (left image): Things took a sour turn very quickly. As much as we loved being in each others company, we’d rushed into things far too fast, had no idea of each others’ horrid peccadilloes which would ultimately lead to a long stretch at Her Majesties pleasure.

We could barely look at each other for more than ten minutes before wanting to punch our fists through each others faces. Me for her brain-draining inability to do anything she was asked, she for my ruining her entire being.

Day 1, PM (right image): CECILIA HAD ARRIVED.

FOR COMPARISON…

Day 2, AM (left image): Having slept on it, I was brimming with misplaced self-confidence which seemed to allow me to take The Girl from the clutches of Giminez to something that resembled almost humanoid form. I probably should have stopped here. But no, no. I carried on, slicing and stitching and shoving the implements in, until my simple procedure of a neat stomach staple was actually a gut full of wrenches and spanners.

Day 2, PM (right image):
We weren’t speaking at all. Fuck her. That’s how I left her to sleep that night. With that face on. Perhaps I could foist this off as an outsider folk effort?

Day 3, AM: Collateral damage mode. Thoughts: She can keep the car, I’ll take the house. Maybe this will be okay. Maybe it can go in the outsider folk art box. Things had reached stalemate, both of us still refusing to have anything to do with each other. I spent some time wondering how long it would take to dig a canvas sized hole in the garden, deep enough for the horror beast never to emerge in heavy ground-rearranging rain. We decided that whilst we weren’t entirely happy with each other, we could make do and mend, and this is how our relationship would end. We’ll chalk it up to experience.

Day 3, PM: Having stared at her teeth-like-a-bag-of-chips mouth for a few hours, wishing I’d never ever seen her face, I felt an empathetic awakening. I couldn’t leave the poor girl like this. I would have to be a real woman, step up to the mark, and put things right as best I could.

Anyway, here she is now. And this is how she is going to stay. I was a little unsure, but having received such heartwarming feedback as “Those eyes! Stuff of nightmares”, I know my work with this girl is done. And let that be a lesson to me.

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