The story behind the painting, Mermaid in a Fountain

21x29 inches, I absolutely l-o-v-e this painting. It is so innocent and naive. When I was a child, and even now, I had a very active imagination.  I always saw magic in the world.  When I painted this picture, I was invited to exhibit at Bennett's Fine Art and Antiques, in Gastown in Vancouver. You had to walk down a few stairs to get to the store, and it had a quaint European looking court-yard, with a lovely black swirly gate. It inspired me to paint this picture. When I look at a fountain, I generally think there should be a mermaid in it, and I also think there should be some sort of ghostly guardian  for the little girl to have as a friend.  The way my mind works!!

When I was about 6 years old, I had a whole troop of leprechaun  looking elves who cleaned my school. I was sure that they were real. I called them my "janitors".They were about 4 inches tall, and had delightful semi visible bodies.  They had little green hats, and beards, and looked kind of like one of my husbands, that I married years later.  (come to think of it) I interacted with them through out the day at school. Apparently some adult in front of the room thought I should be doing something else. (the teacher) and I would occasionally give her a few of my attention units, when she demanded them. She would get a bit cross, and say "Kathy!" and I would look at her in stunned amazement. Just w-h-a-t was her problem?! Can't she see that I am b-u-s-y.  I am entertaining my janitor friends. They are very hard-working and want to tell me about their day. She would get me for a minute and demand that I do something in a workbook. I would for a second or two. Just.....the workbook was terribly boring compared to my fabulous janitor friends who danced and told stories and could appear and disappear.They could cast fairy dust on my class mates and turn them into trolls, or princesses. Some of my class mates didn't really need fairy dust to turn into trolls,(nasty boys who liked to tease Princesses)    I honestly could not then, nor now, see the importance in comparison. If you knew me personally, you would know what my priorities are. They have nothing to do with work books!! LOL

God help me. I am the m-o-s-t impractical person I have ever met!!

To continue................My Mom had a meeting with that lady who stood in front of the class-room yelling my name at me to take me off of important magical matters. I can see her now, standing in front of the classroom, with so much attitude in those crossed arms. I was always looking up at her, and could never see her head. She had GIANT boobs, that blocked my view) and I was over the moon with excitement. My Mom was going to meet the " janitors".  I mean, I can't imagine what my Mom thought about me going on and on about these "janitors".

She went to the meeting. I was on edge the whole time. I was at home, thinking how lucky she was to go and meet them, but I was afraid that the teacher would tell her I was bad for never listening. My biggest hope was that she would have this magical fun too!! She returned. She looked lovely, but didn't look properly enthused by the experience. So I figured it was the giant boobed teacher who she played with, not my friends.

I asked her, "Did you meet them?!?!?!?!?"

Her answer hit me like a brick of disappointment.

"Well, no sweety. I didn't see them. I was talking to your teacher and she told me that you are not paying attention at school. She said you keep talking about the janitor. " I was totally confused.

"Mom, you didn't see them????" I walked away from our conversation trying to figure out why they didn't appear for her. I had pre-arranged the whole thing.

I came back with. "I'm sorry Mommy. They must be shy. Maybe they're afraid of  teacher. She yells!!" she laughed and said to me that she was going to take me to school the next day, to meet the janitor.

OK. That was good. I hoped I could make them appear for her. I needed to talk to them and find out why they didn't meet her.

We went the next day, and she introduced me to a man who was mopping the floor. He was old and ugly, but I suppose he was nice enough. I said "Hello" My Mom said, "Kathy, this is the janitor. Mr....." I looked at her with a confused, and unhappy face" I shook my head. "no mama, this is definitely not the janitor. He is much too big and doesn't have a green hat, and I AM SURE HE DOESN"T HAVE ANY FAIRY DUST TO SPRINKLE ON ANYBODY!!" I was getting angry now,.What was going on here? Was this some cruel joke?

Here I am, terribly upset and my mother is laughing, along with this janitor impostor. (As I write this, I am sure this is how my Granddaughter Lilah feels when I get the imagination game wrong. She gets so-o-o-o-o-o- frustrated!!)

I started to cry. My mom comforted me. We walked away, and she explained to me that my friends were not real, and that the man I met was the real janitor, and I needed to try to pay more attention in school.  My poor Mom didn't know that she was crushing my little world. My janitor friends disappeared forever.  I failed that grade. I was the kind of girl who was so busy in her own universe, that I wasn't really aware of the one I was walking around in. I once walked right into the side of a building and broke my glasses.  This painting inspires all that child magic. I love seeing it in children and hope I was able to keep some of it for myself.

I still walk into sides of buildings occasionally.


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