Talented art critics…a short story by Linda Claire

Linda Claire by original art work…artist not known

Mary Lou was the first to admit she was eccentric. Some of the things she routinely experienced were considered impossible, unbelievable, and as some would say they were downright strange thoughts with no basis in reality. She was an odd ball. She was not an artist even though that was the general assumption that people had made of her. But she was extremely well regarded in prestigious art circles. When she was published, she laid claim to the title ‘world renowned premier art critic.’

Society accepted Mary Lou’s mysterious ways because her insights and opinions
on valuable art creations were legendary. Her memory for various artists and
their paintings astounded even world-class leading art authorities. If asked
about a painting, she could describe it in a way that was almost intimate. The
various colors, styles, subjects, and themes were masterfully described. There
was something beyond that too. There was some way in which you could say she just
knew the painting. She saw a painting and she experienced the painting. She knew
them in such an intimate way that her reflections were more heightened than the
artist’s own perceptions about their paintings.

Mary Lou knew why she had this talent and why she had been able to establish
this level of authority. She knew, but she dared not tell a soul why she had
this talent.

Mary Lou did, however, end up telling me about her hidden insight because
she could recognize that I was in possession of the same ability.

This is where I should introduce myself. My name is Claire. I am a single senior citizen
who has loved the visual arts since childhood. I am not famous like Mary Lou
and I have never publicly critiqued any painting or artist. Instead, I have a
habit of going to flea markets and secondhand stores where I rummage through
various paintings and prints. I also surf the net and explore paintings with
various themes.

Are you wondering if Mary Lou and I are women with extra sensory perception?
ESP is thought of as receiving information from what is sensed rather than felt
through our physical senses. I do not know if that definition exactly fits the
talent that Mary Lou and I have. Maybe thousands of people have our skill but they
have all remained quiet about it for fear of being shamed or given a label
of strange, odd, and a little touched in the head.

Now that I am an old woman, I have decided to explain the gift that I have
and that Mary Lou has mastered because it might open a door for others like us
to come forward and have discussions and work in concert to give a more
bountiful vibrancy to the art pieces they encounter.

And because I think this will open a door for others to immerse themselves
more fully into the visual arts, I will speak now and ask that as I tell you this secret you remain quiet and perhaps close your eyes and open your minds. Prepare. I will now reveal to you the secret of being a great art critic. This should open a door for you, or
perhaps you are already gifted with this talent.

First, imagine any painting that comes to your recall. Next, walk into it.
Yes, that is the pure secret to the gift. If you walk into a painting you check
it’s textures, see if the shadows are in the right place, picture the subject
as a first hand observer, and walk through the painted landscapes or open an
old wooden door. Stay in the painting. Touch the garments and the grass. See if
the artist has captured the light playing on the water. Then continue to
concentrate and see yourself there inside the painting. Do not judge, just
observe. Turn your head, look up and down, look for secrets, look for meanings,
examine your feelings and emotions. Stay inside the painting until you are
gradually ready to leave. The memory of that painting and all of it’s
particulars will remain with you forever.

You see, the gift that I possess is the ability to be there. To be in the painting.
Maybe, I have opened a door so that you can walk into a painting too. Just be
there.

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