I attended an art exhibit on the weekend at a painter’s idyllic estate in town last weekend. It’s the kind of place featured in home and garden magazines. No surprise, it has been in a national publication though I never saw the issue. I imagine there was a picture of the easy-on-the-eyes artist sitting barefoot on the porch of character home along with his stylish wife, each of them holding a cup of coffee while their cat, named after Rembrandt or Beethoven or Socrates, nudges up against his leg. (These aren’t Whiskers or Felix people.)
The gala was scheduled to run from 5-8 p.m. and I worried about looking like I didn’t have a life, arriving at 5:10. Turns out there were a lot of other life-less folks. Cars lined the rustic lane and at least fifty people were already milling about in the pristine gardens, chatting amiably, gazing at the emu and alpaca and, yes, studying the pieces in the industrial studio with the open glass garage doors letting a gentle breeze stream through both levels.
The exhibition is held each year in July and I’m usually out of town at the time. This is an abstract artist whose work I have admired since I first moved to the area five years ago. If and when I finally get back to civilization, I would like to take one of his larger works with me to adorn a wall in my cramped city condo. Unfortunately, the selection seemed smaller than when I’d last attended an exhibit four years ago. Moreover, the colour and composition failed to dazzle me. I had my chequebook ready, but I had no inkling to sign my name and reduce my bank account by another couple of thousand dollars in support of the arts. My art collector days must wait at least another year.
On my last visit, I hadn’t been able to make the opening and instead showed up during an afternoon showing later in the week. At that time, red dots indicated that almost every painting had been purchased. Still, the artist was charming—and attractive—and he offered me a tour of the inside of his home and the meandering gardens. But for the dots, I would have gladly bought one of his works, not sure if due to genuine art appreciation or pure lust.
Given the crowd, there were no personal tours this time. It’s just as well since I would have only felt more frustrated and confused. This man appears to be living an existence that I can only fantasize about. Gorgeous home, gorgeous studio, gorgeous grounds and, well, gorgeous artist. The whole package! The assortment of animals only adds to the ambience. I drove away thinking If only...
How is it this man has a wife? I know my gaydar gets little use here in the boonies, but this man isn’t on the Is He/Isn’t He fringe of the monitor. He’s comes up smack in the middle of the gaydar screen right where you’d find Chris Colfer, Adam Lambert and, yes, Anderson Cooper. (Don’t worry, Andy...no one reads my little blog. Especially not the Baptists in the Bible Belt.) With so few gay men in the area, his lovely wife has taken one of the good ones—okay, maybe the only one—in my age bracket. Doesn’t she know? Doesn’t HE know?! Here we are forty-one years after Stonewall, twelve years after George Michael’s public toilet bust, and months after Justin’s coming out on “Ugly Betty” and being gay still isn’t an option in some rural areas of the least religious province in relatively tolerant Canada. That successful, sexy artist could be mine. What competition is there in these parts?! Alas, he’s crossed over to the hetero life.
In his dreamlike setting, I wonder if he is indeed happy.