Welcome to the next installment of First Pages. We welcome your comments.
Professor Grossmayer shook his head at Alex’s senior art project, closing the portfolio with a soft thud. In the professor’s hands was the power to approve or disapprove the hours upon hours of intensive work Alex had put in, the power to approve or disapprove his graduation from art school. Alex found himself holding his breath. He felt Grossmayer’s filing cabinets and messy piles of paper closing in on him.
In the silence of the professor’s small office, he heard the echo of his father’s voice when Alex had showed him his first pen and ink drawing. “Are you even right, Boy?” he’d said with disdain, scowling down at the rendition of the train tracks that ran through their town.
The professor replaced Alex’s art in the leather portfolio. “I had hopes your senior project would bring the art out in you, but it didn’t. I won’t be recommending you for graduation.”
“I, uh,” Alex’s voice croaked and he cleared his throat. “I don’t understand, Professor.”
Grossmayer stood and retrieved some papers from a filing cabinet in the corner. “You remember Martin Rankle’s alumni lecture last month?”
Alex nodded. Rankle had given the annual alumni lecture in Alex’s freshman year, too. He had held them all spellbound, talking about finding inspiration and looking at the world as an artist.
Grossmayer tossed a print of some artwork on the table. “Take a look at this.”
Alex looked. The art was not amazing or anything, but the promise of talent was absolutely there, leaping off the page. He’d always had a sense of these things.
“This is some of Rankle’s work from his freshman year here.” Grossmayer announced. Then he slid another art print across the table. “This is a piece from his senior project.”
Alex looked. This time, instead of the promise of talent leaping off the page, the trees, the river, the light and shadow, the colors themselves leaped off the page.“Look at what he accomplished when he attended here,” Grossmayer boomed. “Look at the depth, the heart of his work. You have obviously not learned here what Rankle did. Mr. Carmichael, not only do you have no talent, you wouldn’t know art if it bit you on
Special thanks to Anne Schroeder for stepping up and offering us her First Page for critique last week.