Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Portrait of Lorina Dunlop

(An imagined drama based on a painting found in a thrift shop basement.)

Painting of an Angry Woman

— She hates it.
— But I captured her perfectly.
— That’s the problem. You painted her the way she looks. And she looks like Agnes Moorehead with cramps. Her eyebrows look like a cursive letter “M.”
— Her eyebrows do look like cursive letter “M.”
— Believe me, I know. But she feels the expression you’ve captured makes her look angry and judgmental.
— I think she looks… thoughtful.
— She does look thoughtful, but she’s thinking about how much money we wasted on hiring you to do her portrait.
— Has it occurred to you that your wife simply complains a lot?
— Yes.
— And has it occurred to you that if I painted her with an unfurrowed brow, she wouldn’t look like your wife?
— It has. In fact, unfurrowed, she’d look like her younger sister, Gladys, who is radiant and beatific.
— Well, I’m sorry if you’re not happy.
— No, I said she hates it.
— I… don’t follow.
— Young man, you’re very talented, very perceptive. You spend a days with Lorina, and I do feel that in capturing her likeness in this painting, you captured the essence of who she is as a person. I’ve been married to Lorina Dunlop for thirty-seven years — thirty-seven inconsolable years spent under the scowl you’ve re-created in this painting. That’s thirty-seven years of wine-drunk cackling at my expense, the majority of that time with an increasing brood of children who share their mother’s disposition. So please don’t misunderstand my message when I tell you that my wife hates the painting.
— …
— I’d like your most elaborate frame — gold and shiny, if you can, something showy. I’m hanging in the living room, immediately opposite the front door.

5 comments:

  1. I used image search and found your page. I've been seeing Lorina for a couple of years at that Orange Antique store, she's haunted my dreams and finally took her off their hands today. She'll be lonely no more:)

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    1. Oh, WOW. I'm so glad Lorina found a home. She deserves to be somewhere. And I'm so glad you found my blog. I'm curious: What prompted you to finally buy the painting? And are there any markings that might explain who this woman really is?

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  2. I can't find any info. The last name on the painting is Urrico, but sadly there don't seem to be any other Lorinas out there. When I saw her two years ago she reminded me of the painting from the old Rod Serling Night Gallery episode called "Eyes" starring Joan Crawford.

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    1. She does have a Joan Crawford quality, doesn't she? I shall have to find this episode.

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  3. Hulu has the episode for free. Season One Episode One. Spielberg's first professional job. "The Cemetery" in the same episode is great too

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