Saturday, March 10, 2012

I feel like a Mistress

Helen Tilston painting en plein air
He wants me to paint the view from their home.  It cannot be painted en plein aire for a very good reason.  The painting is a surprise present for his wife.  The home is beautiful.  His wife spends most days working in the home.
However, when she leaves for a given number of hours, he calls me.  I then go to the home and paint. Orders are that the neighbours must not see me, as they may "spill the beans" to his wife.
I would make a lousy mistress.  The secrecy of the whole affair is causing me undue stress.
My living room in shadow
I need to return to the home and I hope "she" has a long appointment this week.  I am missing information, such as the light in the shadows.  Photos do not tell the whole story and my sketch does not have all the information. 
When I begin to feel a little self pity, I think of Monet and Sorolla who endured humiliation and rejection and who had hungry families to feed.   I am grateful for all commissions and supporters of my art.

Have you ever had to sneak around?

65 comments:

  1. Oh Helen,
    Poor you !!!! It must be so difficult trying not to be seen or found out....I'd be hopeless. Still, it will have all been worth while when his wife sees the painting .... that is if she doesn't kill her husband first, thinking he has another woman !!!! haha. Can we see the painting when it's finished and has been delivered ? xxxx

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  2. How exciting to paint during her absence! I'm curious about the result and the reaction of his wife!

    Happy weekend!

    Ingrid

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  3. Hello Helen:
    Oh, dearest Helen, all this secrecy and subterfuge.......how we should love it! However, we can imagine that trying to look invisible whilst carrying an easel under one's arm and a stack of paintbrushes in one's hand might prove to be rather problematic!!! We are sure, however, that if you don black glasses and push everything around in a wheelbarrow you will be totally convincing as the gardener!!!!

    Please, please may we see the finished result? We shall not tell a soul.....our mouths are sealed!!!!

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  4. Oh, this made me giggle.
    Secrets can be so difficult to keep!

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  5. It's quite funny, really, Helen, that you should resort to sitting outside a cafe`, across the street from the woman's house, wearing dark glasses and pretending to read an upside down newspaper with two holes cut in the pages, so you can see when she goes out, and then, all dressed in white, run into the building, hoping the neighbours wouldn't have seen you? WOW!

    Have I ever had to sneak around? Well, when I was sixteen I had this boyfriend. His family were all on holiday, so he suggested I went to his house for the day, but to make sure no one would see me!I found a really bad excuse, as my mother didn't like me staying away all day. I left the house with sunglasses and a big scarf in my handbag and wearing a pair of huge sunglasses (good disguise, don't you think?) I wrapped the scarf round my head (to make sure no one noticed me-I am laughing as I write)with my very long blond hair, and I made my way round the corner. I'm sure I must have been as conspicuos as the Pink Panther or Elmer, the Patchwork Elephant, but i got there. He had sprayed so much after shave all over himself I almost fainted, and had decided to wear bright red silky football player type shorts. Oh... my... God! What a passion killer! All that for... this? HELP!

    To make things worse, after a short while we heard a key turning in the lock: his father walked into the house... and his big brother... and... his little brother... and.... his sister!I was so embarrassed, my face must have turned the same colour as his "sexy" passion killing shorts!

    Like old Will would have put it:" Much Ado About Nothing." Why did I do all that? What for?

    It's been a long day of writing, writing, writing! You've cheered me up, Helen! Now I will go downstairs and put my feet up!

    CIAO!



    CIAO!

    ANNA

    xx

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  6. Dear Helen - It can be really difficult being involved in deceiving someone, even with the best of intentions. Hope it all goes well for you, and hide quickly in the bushes if she does return home unexpectedly. We can all vouch for your good honour.

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  7. Oh, Helen! I got stressed out just reading it! The gift he will give his wife will be more of a gift than she will ever know!
    I love the first photo so much.
    I would love to see what is on your canvas. :)
    much love - isa

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  8. Of course I did.

    But unlike you, those days are over for me.

    xo Jane

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  9. Not good at being sneaky but especially when it's something you want to shout about and this would be a sure case of wanting to do so

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  10. This experience would make for a very good comedy Helen...with a little mystery thrown in for good measure!
    Can't wait to hear about her reaction to it all...
    xo J~

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  11. I love this story, Helen. Even though things might be a bit stressful right now, i am ready to bet you will look back on your time in that house as a fun, exciting and ultimately rewarding one! I would love to see the painting when It is all over. Bon courage! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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  12. Dear Helen,
    I can imagine how stressful it must be, but soon it will be done, and it will make a wonderful gift! I hope you will show us the finished painting.
    Best of luck!!
    Louise

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  13. I love a good thriller, and this is pretty close! How fun!! You do get the BEST Assignments!!! Be sure and let us see the finished painting!
    xx
    dawne

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  14. What a perfect analogy! I am sorry for your stress, but what a lovely thing for him to do. Hope you show us when it's finished.
    Jen

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  15. This sounds lie something out of a mystery novel! I wish you the best!

    XO,
    Jane

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  16. Jacqueline @ HOME

    I am a hopeless actor and get so nervous. I do not even know what she looks like. Her husband is very handsome too!!!

    I will post the painting later.

    Thanks Jacqieline and have a great week

    Helen xx

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  17. Home and Lifestyle

    Hello Ingrid

    Exciting and also nervous - I have a dread of her returning early. I feel like I am trespassing!1


    Hope you have a great week

    Helen xx

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  18. Jane and Lance Hattatt

    You two are priceless with a one track mind, gardening. The visual of me with a wheel-barrow has me roaring with laughter. It would certainly curb any suspicions the neighbours might have. Should I also wear a pair of "Hunter Wellies" and chew on a blade of grass?

    Such fun. Hee Hee

    Have a wonderful week

    Helen xx

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  19. Pamela Terry & Edward

    Hello Pamela

    It is funny I suppose. I am anxious to meet her. Yesterday I took a walk by the house and had my camera, I stopped to look and their dog started barking, he now knows me. I ran away. The plot thickens!

    Helen xx

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  20. Hi Helen! Thanks for the wonderful comment on my blog...and thanks for following me! I have to take a closer look at your blog...it looks so beautiful!!

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  21. Yes, like the others I was stressed for you just reading this. It is a wonderful, wonderful gift. Good luck as the sneakery continues!

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  22. Helen, I feel for you! Then I think how happy I would be to receive one of your paintings...I am sure it will be treasured and loved. :)
    Jeanne xx

    PS..if you would like to set your page so that you can reply directly under each comment, go to your settings, posts and comments and set your comments to 'embedded'. It will make life much easier for you. :)

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    1. Hello Jeanne

      Firstly, thank you for telling me how to "make life simpler" by enbedding the reply. You are a fountain of knowledge.

      Thank you for your beautiful comment on my painting. I am looking forward to the next session.

      My best
      Helen xx

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  23. Oh Helen! Can you imagine what the neighbours are saying...to be sure someone has seen you coming and going!
    All shall be revealed in due course...then won't they be ashamed for what they were thinking.
    Thankfully, I've never been in a situation where deception was required...just as well as I know I would be utterly hopeless!

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    1. Hello Jaccqueline

      You are so right. There is no doubt someone is spying from behind one of those vertical venetian blinds (they are spy material). This is so funny. It too shall pass.

      It reminds me of the movie Secrets and Lies - did you see it?
      Hope all is progressing well in your world.

      Helen xx

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  24. Helen, what a delightful post. I found little sounds of mischief escaping my lips with a smile as I read it.

    I imagine you dignified and bringing all of your impeccably-maintained materials to the scene only to grapple with strange feelings for reasons not your own!

    My favorite passage, though, is:

    'I am missing information, such as the light in the shadows.'

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    1. Hello Suze

      You are so right when you say I am grappling with strange feelings for reasons not my own. You are so clever to extract that sentence pertaining to the light in the shadows.

      I will pray for light in the shadows

      Thank you for commenting and my best wishes for a great week

      Helen xx

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  25. What a nice surprise to come across your blog today for the first time!
    So great to see the world through the eyes of an artist.

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    1. Hello Simony
      A warm welcome to my blog and thank you for visiting. I will look forward to seeing you again very soon.
      Wishing you a great week

      Helen xx

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  26. Helen, I am laughing at your story as if it were comedy fiction, but I can tell that there is great stress in sneaking about. I hope that he is paying handsomely for your fine painting and cannot wait to see the finished piece.

    Anna's story adds to the humor of this post. Love the thought of you cutting out eyeholes in a canvas just to see the light and other missing information.

    Have courage, mon amie!

    Bises,
    Genie

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    1. Hi Genie

      Time has a way of healing and I am also laughing at the silliness of it all. It is good stress I suppose!

      Anna tells a wonderful story and she has a wicked imagination and humour.

      Thank you for your kind words of support

      Helenxx

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  27. Poor You Helen..
    That certainly is a difficult commission..
    Maybe he needs to take his wife for a long drive..that will give you more time.
    A very strange state of affairs indeed.
    Lets hope that she likes it and all will be back to normal for you..
    looking forward to seeing it.
    Happy sunday.
    valxxxx

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    1. Hi Valerie

      I am giggling at your witty line "a very stranfe state of affairs indeed" Hee hee...that is a good one.

      It is all progressing well and I am in the final stretch of the painting and hope it will be completed this week.

      Wishing you a lovely Sunday
      Helenxx

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  28. Such a comical situation, Helen. I loved reading about it and hoping it gets resolved SOON!!!

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    1. Hello Becky

      Ha Ha Becky - it is indeed comical and I am feeling much better about it. He is a wonderful man and loves his wife dearly.
      A slight inconvenience but all worthwhile
      Hope you are enjoying this beautiful time of year

      Helenxx

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  29. teeeeheeee...you are funny! That is hilarious, but what a fun commission, Helen!!! I am sure it is going to be just LOVELY! And thank you dear heart for your visit and kind word! No, I have not had to sneak around....but how fun to be on such a mission!!!!

    HAVE A LOVELY WEEK!!! Anita

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  30. Oh dear Helen, This must be so stressful to be painting in such secrecy! Be prepared, some neighbor will see and tell and the cat will be out of the bag. Oh what a delightful surprise if you do pull it off. Like you, I don't like sneaking around. I do hope you'll be able to share this painting, I'm sure it going to be beautiful!
    Helen, I didn't realize you were from Ireland! I am happy to hear you are able to go home every year for a visit with your family. Thanks for sharing. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

    ~Emily
    The French Hutch

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  31. You my friend are a true artist, willing to do anything for your art! :)
    Please share it with us when it's done and delivered!!!

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  32. Anna - you have me rolling around the floor laughing - at my being a spy and the two holes in the newspaper. You are hilarious. Your soiree with Romeo all those years age is the stuff operas are made from. The pink scarf and then the red boxer shorts and cologne are just too hilarious.
    Such beautiful fond memories. Thanks for such an amusing story Anna.

    Meanwhile, I continue to sneak around. One more visit should do it. Then I will kiss it good-bye.

    Have a wonderful week

    Helen xx

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  33. Hello Rosemary

    Thank for stopping by and for your support. That is a good idea to hide in the bushes should she come home. Then again there might be a snake living in the bushes or a hill of red ants. (there are snakes in Paradise).
    I will try and remain positive and I do see the humour in it all.

    Have a great week

    Helen xx

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  34. Blue Muse

    I thank you for your kind words.
    WEather permitting, and Madade's schedule, I hope to return to the scene again this week. I am very happy with the progress I am making and will post when complete.

    Helen xx

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  35. FlwrJane

    Hello Jane

    I love the "true confessions" of my followers. I had not meant for the post to be a "tell all" hee hee

    Fondly
    Helen xx

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  36. Pura Vida

    Normally my commissions are very straight forward and I usually come and go as I please. Not so this time!
    It will get completed and I shall post when it is safely delivered.

    Have a great week
    Helen xx

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  37. 24 Corners

    Hello Jessica

    I can just see you and your brilliant students make a series of sketches on the story.

    Hope you have a brilliant week
    Helen xx

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  38. French Girl in Seattle

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and I am having fun. He is a very thoughtful and kind man and his heart is in the right place. He loves his wife dearly.
    He is not very good at the game of deceit and gets nervous too.

    Fun and yes, I am sure I will look back and laugh. What would I have posted about this week otherwise.

    I love your posts on Puerto Vallarta.

    Helen xx

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  39. Louise at Cosmetic Bee

    Thank you Louise for your encouraging words. You support means much to me.

    I will indeed post the picture when it is completed and delivered.

    I need one more visit and then I can complete in my studio.

    Have a beautiful week

    Helen xx

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  40. Dawne Boynton Polis

    Thanks for your support and humour Dawne. As I write my responses, I am seeing more and more humour in the whole affair (bad choice of word!!)
    I will indeed post the image
    Have a delightful week

    Helen x

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  41. Hello Jen

    Yes you are so right, he is a very thoughtful man and loves his wife.

    They have put a lot of love into their home and it is very unique.

    I shall post the picture

    Helenxx

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  42. Blondie's Journal

    Hello Blondie

    You are so right, it is like from a novel and I am giggling even more as I write this
    Wishing you a week of joy

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  43. Aputsiaq

    GoodMorning and welcome to my blog.
    I look forward to knowing your work.
    Wishing you a tremendous week
    Helenxx

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  44. Lost in Provence

    Hello Heather

    I love your comment "let the sneakery continue".....that is funny but oh so true.

    Wishing you a great week

    Helen xx

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  45. That is cute...I am sure it will be great.

    Yes, I have had to sneak around and the result was great...we were trying to give a necklace to my mother-in-law without her finding out that we and her husband were buying it for her...it took two years!! xx

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  46. Hi Helen,

    I can imagine how difficult it must be to paint this way. It almost feels like 'an affair' ;-)! I hope the wife will be pleased with the final result.

    Happy new week,

    Madelief x

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  47. Dear Helen, I do feel for you but my silly sense of humour has got the better of me and I visualise you turning up to paint in a long enveloping black lacy dress with full veil, like a heroine from a Gothic Victorian melodrama!
    I do hope this difficult commision finishes soon and succesfully, Jane xx

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  48. Hi Helen, How funny this post is... I love it! You have such a lovely blog and are so talented! Wish I was artistic in that way too. Thanks for your comments on my blog and thank you for your support of the book :)

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  49. It's incredible what kind of feelings such situations can provoke! After all you haven't done anything wrong but it still makes you feel uncomfortable! I was laughing though! What a story! I would love to know what that woman says when she gets the painting and then gets to know the story behind it! I hope things are going well and you could collect more knowledge about shades and shadows... Happy day! Christa

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  50. Oh I can see why this is causing you stress...sort of exciting though and what a sweet gesture for a present from husband to wife. I'm sure you'll all become good friends. Can't wait to see the finished piece.
    xo
    annie

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  51. While you are under undue stress I must say your post is delightful and made me smile. I have just finished reading "Claude and Camille". As I was reading your post I couldn't help but visualize you with easel over your shoulder and canvas under your arm trying to find the perfect place to hide that also had a view. Wishing you luck. I, too, hope you will share. Hugs! Bonnie

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  52. Ha, ha...good luck with sneaking around. At least you have a great and fun memory to talk about after :) I'm sure his wife will be so pleased when it is all over. What a romantic thing to do! If my husband would do sth like that I would be so happy!

    Kristin xo

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  53. What an awesome gift though!
    I know you will pull it off beautifully!

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  54. I love the entire idea of being the hidden Artist. There will be such joy when you can share the beauty of your painting with everyone. Until then...enjoy the fun of it all.

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  55. Helen you make me smile, and what a "mission" you have taken on here!
    I really kind of like the idea though. Makes it a bit extra special.
    I am pretty sure i would not make a very good mistress either. I am really bad at hiding things!

    Sending you wishes for a wonderful day ahead!
    xo.

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  56. How funny. No, I've never had to sneak around and I would feel the same discomfort as you do Helen. But think how thrilled she is going to be when she sees your painting!

    Thank you for visiting my blog. It's my pleasure to meet you and I look forward to getting to know you better. I love that Tish's blog brought us together. She has such a talent and I adore her blog as well as her fabulous personality. Welcome to my kitchen.
    Sam

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  57. Good morning sweet Helen!

    Thank you so much for coming to sit a while at my post and to LISTEN to the music. I know for some, listening to music while reading a blog post can be annoying, but I do try to choose a piece that WILL ENHANCE the experience, and thank you so for embracing the two.

    I wish you a SPLENDID DAY dear artist friend! Anita

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  58. Hi Helen,
    Tell your client to buy the neighbours a day at a spa. That will give you a bit of a breathing space.Failing that , go round yourself,tell them what's going on and remind them about the part in The Godfather when a guy woke up with a horse's head in his bed after 'talking'.
    I don't think you'll have many problems after that.
    Love your paintings and blog in general.
    Wishing you a great weekend !
    Joasia x

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