Ever since my friend Dawn came up with the name Poulet Rouge for the chicken coop, I have been obsessed with commissioning a painting for them.
Like this … but with chickens.
What better way to spend money?
There is a spot by my kitchen door that has been populated by a vintage poster of Betty Grable for about 20 years.
She’s been a great conversation piece over the years as people constantly stop to ask us who she is. Loony loves her because she’s plain; she looks like a mom. But back in the day her legs were insured for one million dollars.
It just goes to show how much harder it is to be hot these days. I miss those days.
Two decades on my porch took its toll on old Betty as pieces tore off and were glued back on.
I have been wanting to replace her for quite some time but have been waiting for just the right thing.
I cast around for an artist when Nikki reminded me of Jeff Maxim. He’s a lot like me but maybe a little more wild-eyed.
Jeff and I met years ago, right around when I first met Loony. He hung out with Scott, the then resident of Loony’s third floor apartment and a fellow artist.
Jeff is always up for a good time and is about as unafraid of looking silly as I am. We wiled away a balmy 4th of July on Loony’s roof singing Tom Jones covers of Kiss (the Prince version) while watching fireworks with friends.
But we never dated. In fact, I invited him to something or other a million years ago and he declined because, and I quote, “He didn’t want me to get the wrong idea.”
Anyway, we ran in different circles for a long time and other than that ill-fated attempt to start a company that threw bitchin’ parties that ended up in him painting my entire body with scales one night, I hardly see the guy.
But Nikki reminded me of him and I thought, perfect!
I messaged him with the general gist and our conversation went something like this:
Me: Would you be interested/able to do a large painting of Silkies doing the can-can a la Toulouse Lautrec?
Jeff: What are Silkies?
Me: They are fluffy white chickens that have a big puff on their heads.
Jeff: Like Phyllis Diller?
Me: Exactly. And they have to exude a saucy joie de vivre.
Jeff: No problem. Sounds like fun.
After a few preliminary sketches and some back and forth, he came over with this masterpiece.
It’s the best, isn’t it? I LOVE IT!
Loony loves it, too. He isn’t even a little bit mad about how much money I spent on it even though I refused to tell him. Like me, Loony values being tickled more than almost anything in this world.
Thank you Jeff! It was great working with you.