Last week I spent some time in New York, followed by a conference in Chicago and finally Charlotte, North Carolina to visit my parents and grandparents (we are not from North Carolina -- they moved there three years ago because of a job my father got). Anyway, a lot of travel was followed by a relatively restful weekend with my family (sans Ben) in which my mother and I shopped and I got my first pedicure ever. Yeah, all nice and normal stuff.
On the last day of my trip, my mother and I went to a chain store called Steinmart, some sort of store that has clothes and furniture and is pretty different from any places I've been to California. Anyway, it was at Steinmart that I saw the most awesome painting ever.
I love Westies and I love whimsy. This seemed straight out of Disneyland. So, I called Ben and asked his opinion on the picture. Since I couldn't get GPRS working on my phone, I couldn't send the picture of the painting I took. Based on my description I could tell Ben probably would want me to pass. He was interested, yes, but unsure of how it would look in our home.
So we went home.
Later that night, as I showed my dad and grandparents (who responded that "that crap isn't going to hang in our house."), I finally got the picture uploaded to my blog for Ben to see. Pretty quickly we both decided the picture was too good to pass up. So, my parents and I jumped in the car and rushed to Steinmart which would be closing in about ten minutes.
When we got there, I rushed to the back of the store and asked a clerk if the painting was in stock. But instead of describing it, I showed a picture on my cell phone I took earlier that day.
Salesclerk: Wait. Are you the one who just called about this thing?
Me: Yeah, that was my dad.
Salesclerk: Oh, okay. I couldn’t believe there would be two people wanting that tonight.
Me: Yeah, well. I like Westies
Salesclerk: Okay...I’ll get it.
My parents then asked if there were any other prints of this caliber and she proceded to show them a beagle in miliitary attire along with The Officer’s Mess (my painting).
Salesclerk: We had to remove these from the sales floor because of complaints.
My parents: What kind of complaints?
Salesclerk: People were saying they were offensive.
Offensive? I’d give on tacky or weird, but offensive?
Anyway I got the painting, carried it back with me on the plane to California and propped it against a chair in our living room. Ben and I love the thing and the fact that it makes us smile every time we see it. People who have visited our house smile and laugh at it. It’s a conversation piece — it makes us feel good. If that’s offensive, I’m all for it.
When in North Carolina, I told my parents that it was my goal to get that painting in the background of an upcoming photo shoot Ben and I were going to do for a periodical. Luckily, when the photographer came over, she loved The Officer and it’s now predominantly in the photos (though there are some photos that we took in another room — we’ll see which one they choose).
Note: The reason I'm so dressed up in that picture from the shoot is because I'm wearing my prom dress from high school -- Ben and I started dating because I asked him to the prom.
By the way, the artist behind The Officer’s Mess is Thierry Poncelet.