(oil on canvas, 24X36)
Have you ever imagined yourself living in different time periods? I have. As a young girl I ‘quantum leapt’ through centuries going on one exciting adventure after another.
After reading Jack London’s Alaskan stories I pretended to mine for gold in a giant puddle that never dried in front of our apartment building. I still remember my grandmother screaming at me from our third story window, “Natasha, get out of the puddle. Vai-vai-vai peed in it last night!” Vai-vai-vai was a nick name of our ‘resident’ alcoholic who liked to chase us, kids, with his hands wide open screaming ‘Vai Vai Vai!”.
As I devoured Cooper’s “Leatherstocking Tales” I spend a summer fashioning home-made bows and arrows so I and a few of my friends (the pretend Mohegans) could defend against the French an abandoned building (the pretend English fort). Interestingly enough, after I moved to the US I ended up in Connecticut, the home state of the Mohegan Tribe.
Then there was a year when I binge-read Duma and Sergeanne Golon and pretended to be an adventurous aristocrat living in the 17th century France. I walked around our tiny apartment with my back straight, and my neck extended randomly curtsying to my grandmother and my grand aunt.
It was a marvelous childhood filled with time traveling adventures. As a kid I didn’t realize the romanticized events I read about in books were fiction. The novels I read didn’t reflect the actual daily hardships most people had to endure throughout centuries.
As a grownup I’ve concluded that I’d rather stay where I am (timewise). Somehow beating laundry against a rock or going to a blacksmith to extract an infected tooth are not the things I ever wish to experience.
There still is, however, one historical time period that has never lost its luster for me: the Roaring Twenties. I fell in love with the 1920s reading Fitzgerald and Hemingway and I honestly wouldn’t mind going back in time to that era. If only for a few days. Just so I can call someone a chap, drink bootleg whiskey at a speakeasy and listen to some fine jazz. I love the 1920s so much that I dress up as a Flapper (in real life) every chance I get.
That being said, it’s somewhat surprising that it took me a very long time to paint a self-portrait as a Flapper. I hope my next self-portrait as a Flapper won’t take me quite as long, because “Self-portrait as an aging Flapper” just doesn’t have a ring to it. Come to think of it ‘Aging Flapper’ actually sounds like an oxymoron…