|Asleep at the Wheel 11x4 Watercolor on paper|
I've been hanging around a lot of my friends' dogs these days. It's good to get some canine-love in every week, and I have a weak spot for the leaners out there; the dogs that lean into you when you start giving them some love. This watercolor is based on a cell phone shot of one of my favorite leaners, while she was snoozing on her big round bed.
Some years ago Whistler showed a visitor several heads of Italian children, each about 10 or 12, by 16 or 18 inches in size. With them was a three-quarter length of one of the children. They were all superb bits of portraiture, and akin to the Little Rose of Lyme Regis - in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The visitor was eager to get one or more of the pictures. After considerable pressure, he said :
"I think they ought to be worth six hundred guineas each; don't you?"
"And the large one?" said the visitor.
"Oh, the same. That is no more important than the small.”
"Very well. May I have all four?"
"Dear me ! You don't want them all?"
"If you will let me have them."
" But.... " and then the struggle began, "I must look them over; they are not quite finished."
“But, surely, these two are finished."
"Yes, I might let those go by-and-bye, but not now."
"Will you send them to me ?"
"Yes, certainly, after I have gone over them again."
"I will leave a check."
"God bless me, no! You must not do that. It will be time enough to send a check after you receive the little pictures."
Needless to say, the pictures were never received. They had just been finished, and he could not bring himself to part with them. It was not a matter of money at all — likely as not he sold them later for less — but it was always next to impossible to get him to part with recent work. If he happened to have on hand a picture five or ten years old, possibly, that could be bought and taken away, but anything in which he was interested at the time he would not let go.
~Recollections and impressions of James A. McNeill Whistler by Jerome Eddy 1903