Decades ago my mother and I visited an art museum, probably in Utica, N.Y. We came across a painting by Picasso and I leaned forward to see if I could detect the genius in the brush strokes.
My mother also squinted knowlingly at the painting and smiled.
“You could do better than that,” she said.
Granted, my mother was legally blind and she had a tendency to overestimate the potential of all her children. But I burned with embarrassment and glanced around to make sure no one I knew was within earshot.
The possibility that my cartooning could ever reach the Picasso stratosphere was silly. The very idea cast doubt on one of Picasso’s famous observations: “Todo lo que puedas imaginar es real,” anything you can imagine is real. No amount of imagination would turn anyone, least of all me, into a Picasso.
Not that I haven’t tried. There have been occasions when I tried to get the feel of Picasso’s style, crudely imitating his lines with ink. Whenever I tried the result, as expected, fell far short of el maestro.
But my efforts always made me smile as I thought of my uncritical mother – gone these many years – because I knew she would have been warmly approving of my cartooning style.
Whether she could see it clearly or not.