Thursday, May 06, 2010

Jerome David S. expressed interest in the dramatics as well as tropical fish.

I was always a precocious reader, my mother was a teacher who taught me to read before I even started school.   In the 3rd grade, after a librarian refused to let me check out a book (I believe it was on witchcraft) my mother insisted that the public library issue me an adult library card.  In retrospect, mother thinks that this may have been a mistake.  I was reading all of the Tennessee Williams plays when I was too young to really know what was going on.  All I knew was that Blanche Du Bois was just wonderful.  I read The Bell Jar, which was leant to me by my high school age babysitter.  Probably someone who still requires a babysitter, shouldn't be reading that yet.

I know I'm not alone with my obsession for anything Salinger.  Like anyone who ever read Catcher in the Rye (is there anyone who hasn't?) it was a life changing experience.   Our neighbor and former high school teacher gave me his copy to read, I think I must have been 9 or 10 at the time.   I read the entire book in one sitting, I could not put it down.  I've probably read it at least once a year since then, partly because it is so familiar to me, and comforting for that very reason.

When J.D. Salinger died in January, I read an article in the NY Times that had some information about him that I hadn't already read somewhere else. One of those wonderful tidbits was that while attending McBurney School on the Upper West Side, he told the admissions office his interests were dramatics and tropical fish.  I jotted that bit of info in my journal which ended up inspiring this painting.   As a rule, I don't usually like to paint famous people but for whatever reason, I felt compelled to paint him.


holly aka golly said...

Such an enigma. I too loved his books! Your portrait is brill!

Kate Gabrielle said...

My parents taught me to read before school too, I was so impatient! :) I never read any grown-up books until I was at least 11, but it was certainly annoying to have teachers trying to teach me something I already knew how to do by the time I got in school!

I love the fish & dramatics tidbit, funny I read so many of his obituaries and I somehow missed that. What an interesting man. Fantastic portrait :)

tammy said...

wow. this is inspirational on many levels. the painting is fantastic. i hope to cultivate a love of reading for my little boy.

isabelnotebook said...

Hi Viviene!
I recived your paint this week.
I read Salinger when she was a young girl, The catcher in the rye and short storys, and I love. After i read again but now I prefair Philip Roth, Paul Auster...

take 38 said...

I hope this doesn't taint your perception of me, but I have never read Catcher in the Rye. "Yes, it's true," she says while hanging her head in shame.

Great portrait though...I'm sure Salinger would be proud!


vivienne strauss said...

thank you ALL for such nice comments! Katherine, I don't think badly of you, I'm jealous that you still have that book to look forward to reading for the first time!

Isabel - so glad the print made it safely to Spain! Thank you, again!

Pilar said...

Vivienne I love your paintings!!!! So poetic! Congratulations!