Simone is a local Kauai resident of Portuguese descent. Irrepressibly good-natured, extremely hard-working and round of belly that is firm not flabby, he is not much taller than he is wide. Simone enthusiastically does grounds work around the island.
Several months ago I went over to a friend’s house to return a tool. Simone was working outside, happily enacting his version of an agricultural Sisyphus, forever cutting and trimming greenery that will immediately grow back for a repeat performance.
We said aloha, and talked story for a while. Part of our miscellaneous ramblings was automotive as I was hunting an elusive part for my ’86 Prelude, and he was doing the same for his parked truck. Currently, he was driving an older import- four doors of island car – faded paint, artistic outcroppings of rust, windows that always needed help in closing that last inch. It looked like someone had been living in it for the last decade.
Simone related the story of how his wife’s friend had been in an accident with the car. The passenger door was trashed and wouldn’t close, it needed some other things, but it ran okay. However, it wasn’t worth anything to the insurance company so they wrote it off for a six-pack of Kona Fire Rock Ale. The lady gave the car to Simone. He was stoked.
He fixed the door. It looked somewhere in the vicinity of okay and it closed, if only a little shy of actual metal to metal. He told me in proud detail how he repaired it and repeated with lively animation how he came to be the owner of what most people without hesitation would label, a “beater”.
And then the greatest thing happened. As Simone finished his story, a broad grin came over his already very wide face. He had the most affectionate, loving look in his eyes as he patted the trunk of his car. Looking for all the world like a Portuguese cherub, he asked me with the utmost innocent sincerity, “Isn’t she beautiful?” And damn if she wasn’t because he completely felt that without a trace of doubt. For days afterward, I would recall his face as he asked me that question and I would find myself getting caught up again in his tsunami of pleasure. Thanks Simone.
Mr. Toad is for the most part, done. Renamed, “Odalisque 2 – The Waiting Prince”, the 16 x 20 painting is kinda like a car wreck. You just gotta look at it. It is impossible to walk by and not crane your neck. Not a conventionally attractive subject, it is not unlike Simone’s car. There is so much I personally like about it, though, all the homeliness of our laid back amphibian is just skin deep. I mean, he is so perfectly a toad. His ultimate toad- ness stops your mind. I also love the light on his right front leg as the sun catches it on its afternoon decline. And the tadpole – the tadpole swimming up to Grandpa Bufo isn’t made up. I work from photos of my subjects and this is what was going on at that very moment. Couldn’t ask for better. I am sure that commercially speaking, choosing this particular subject may not be my swiftest financial move, but hey………isn’t he beautiful?
thanks for taking some LIP from me,
p.s. as always click on the image for a larger view