We’ve all got our funny ways.
I imagine one or two of mine might seem a little odd to most. For example, I don’t get why a guy driving a clapped out Ford Mondeo would carry a Ferrari key ring? Is it to remind himself of what a disappointment his life turned to be?
My mate was a senior fire officer. I loved their polo shirts, he offered me one. I thanked him but politely declined. He asked why. I said I hadn’t earned the right to wear a shirt designed for people who are prepared to risk their lives for others. That sounds odd even to ME!.
The one time this really sticks in my mind was a day at Earls Court when I did events (long story!) and I was attending an aviation event. A guy had a stand selling aerobatics lessons. He was a former RAF pilot who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His name was Mark Green and he asked if I was a Pilot, I said ‘No, I haven’t got my licence yet.
He asked if I’d done my 1st Solo, I replied ‘Yes, I’ve flown solo a few times now’, to which he replied ‘You’re a Pilot’.
Coming from an ex-RAF fighter pilot, I took that one.
As an aside, I did take aerobatics lessons with Mark and if I ran the country I’d make it compulsory for everyone to try it. You’ll rarely feel so alive. Here is a link to his site, Ultimate High. DO IT.
My point is, whenever it comes out in conversation that I pretty much paint (or do something ‘arty’) everyday, I’m often asked if I’m an ‘Artist’. I always say, no, I do it just for the sheer pleasure and to take my mind off whatever troubles are on my mind because to my way of thinking, until a complete stranger walks up to me and puts their hand in their pocket to buy a piece of my art, I don’t feel I have the right to call myself an artist.
And here is the quandary that occurred yesterday.
As you may have seen from previous posts, I’ve been learning how to spray paint and in an attempt to recoup the small fortune I’ve spent on paint etc I decided to chance my arm and try and sell them on Spice Island or Old Portsmouth as most would know it.
On my wife’s suggestion, I took all the stuff needed to actually paint whilst I was there which took a bit of courage I can tell you! Once I set up and got stuck in quite a crowd gathered at one point and at the appropriate moment lots of ‘ooohs’ and ahhhs’ went up as I finished my first piece. But sadly, no one bought any of the paintings on display.
A little girl, about 7 years old watched me do one from start to finish while her mum stood by. The girl was amazed when I took off the bowls and revealed the finished space/planet scene. The mum showed no signs of buying it for here girl so as she obviuosly liked it I said to her ‘You can have this one if you want? She did.
Yes, but for how much? said the mum.
‘For free’ I said. ‘If she likes it, she can have it.
I showed the girl how to hold it as it was a little tacky still and she thanked me, I turned to carry on painting and her mum handed my £3 and said ‘Here’s a contribution’. I duly thanked her and off they went.
So, here’s my quandary, does a ‘contribution’ for a gift so to speak, count as a complete stranger putting their hand in their pocket?
I asked myself the same question and got an uncomfortable feeling from my conscious. Obviously the answer is ‘No’.