Parting Looks

HJN Harold, age 6, with his palomino horse Silver.

Harold, age 6, with his palomino horse Silver on the family ranch in the Glass Mountains east of Alpine, Texas.

When I re-launched this blog a year ago, my father had died. I imagined one use for the blog as being an archive for images of some of his art works. That particular thrust of the blog faltered.

HJN Self Portrait in Tree Trunk

Self portrait in tree trunk.

Lately, with a sale taking shape, his work has emerged from closets. It stares at me and I at it. My job is to place value on it. I’m eminently unqualified to do so. I’ve admired some of what he accomplished, but have often had trouble taking his painting seriously.

HJN Still in the Saddle

“Still in the Saddle”

Harold’s creative surge blossomed in early mid-life during his prepared-for career as a college administrator. Circumstances allowed him subsequently to impersonate a full-time artist for over thirty years. He was a showman and canny businessman, and cultivated an image that served him well. And he worked hard at the art thing, too.

HJN. Oil on canvas.

Oil on canvas. This painting is one of dozens in which Harold evoked the ranch culture he grew up in. It has never attracted me, but it sits now in my vestibule near a light source that causes the creamy whites to glow almost preternaturally.

Knowing the remnants of that second career are going away, I’m moved to serially archive here a batch of specimens under the recurring rubric “Parting Looks.” It feels like a modest way to remember him while finally bidding “adiós, daddy” to a tall shadow.

HJN Texas State of Mind

“A Texas State of Mind” — This poster is sobering, because Harold died suddenly on January 21, 2013. I was scheduled to bring him home only a few days later from a stint of therapy to recover from a hip injury. He was 88.

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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2 Responses to Parting Looks

  1. I’m trying to imagine what this might feel like… and failing

    Liked by 1 person

    • JMN says:

      The feelings I’m having are predictably complicated, I suppose. Definitely bitter-sweet to imagine, projectively, his dwelling, now mine, minus the tangible imprint he left on it. The most burdensome thing is trying to assign monetary figures to objects that are intrinsically worthless. Chris and Charlotte, my estate sale consultants, are coaching me sympathetically through the ordeal. One wants to make a certain profit, which will be plowed into maintenance of the property — taxes, grounds-keeping, repairs, upkeep, and the like. I swing between over-valuing something, in a fit of lust for lucre, and the opposite urge of just wanting to give things away and be done! I must land somewhere in the middle, and I’m not a good, middle-landing person!


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