Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Little Tableau

When Robb and I were on our honeymoon, we decided to leave the confines of our Caribbean resort and go across the street to an establishment called Tequila Joe's. I donned a faux denim romper, Robb put on his nicest cargo shorts, and we sat in the shade of the patio, sipping terrible margaritas. It should be known that the logo for Tequila Joe's is a cactus (that looks not unlike a pickle) wearing a sombrero and playing a saxophone. Lucky for you, I attempted to ride the mechanical bull at Tequila Joe's later that evening and this photo managed to capture the sign in the background.
While we were sitting on the porch of Tequila Joe's, a man by the name of Pierre approached us and asked if we wanted to buy any of his art. He had many pieces of art, this Pierre, most of which were painted with tempera paints in primary colors. I'm afraid Pierre didn't have much finesse. But then, as we were about to turn him away, he showed us this painting of an epic waterfall splashing down into a cool lagoon. There were the twin Pitons peeking above the clouds, actual palm trees with real color blending, and everything rendered to scale. That is, except for the two little primary color sailboats floating through the water. (Were they un-manned toy boats? Or was it just a very large jungle?) Pierre, I'm afraid, had taken someone else's work and painted his little boats over it, which was just pathetic enough that we gave him a twenty and declared it our first marital art acquisition. (It even came with a real plastic frame!)
Pierre's fine artwork now hangs in our living room against a dramatic red wall. Beneath the art is one of my great grandmother's Spanish dolls, and to the left is an old photograph of my great grandmother's brother, Pauly, who I learned recently had his heart broken as a young man in the 1930s. (He was a Protestant, but he married a Catholic woman and they had a child together. Their families, however, were not happy with the intermingling of the religions, so her parents convinced her to take the child and leave him; he never saw them again.)
Right in the middle of it all is a bowl I made in pottery class. It has no other purpose than to catch the errant pocket change and leftover skeins of yarn that pile up on the coffee table, but I like the way that it ties the corner together. The ridiculous painting, the stoic doll, the sadness of Pauly, and a little something I made.

So often these days I see little tableaus arranged in people's homes, and I know they mean something--at least I'd like to think they mean something--but I'm not sure what. In my home, anyway, every little thing has a story. And this was one of them.


  1. You look so fetching with that painting!

  2. Beautifully all you need to do is add the bull riding picture in the tableau - just a thought!

  3. i love this!! You'll always remember that piece of artwork now. I LOVE that he painted on top of someone else's image!

  4. I LOVE tableaus (oh, Google tells me the plural is tableaux!) for exactly the reason you described. I have them dotted around my apartment (although none as "formal" as yours), and sometimes I just like to pick up the pieces and remember where they came from.

    How did I not know the story about Pauly? Is that what you and Mom were talking about when Mom "missed" the turn in Arnold??

  5. Ooh tableaux! How sexy!

    You guys, I'm so glad you like my tableau. Now I want to hear all about your tableaux!

    (And yes, Erin, mom was telling us all about Pauly's sad story when you were driving and we missed the, you can really tune her out!)