I’m enrolling for lessons. I’ve had enough of this trying to paint faces in my paintings. It all came about when I turned to the sports page of the Jerusalem Post which we have delivered to our apartment at the retirement home.

Two things happened more or less simultaneously; in Golden Ager’s Lingo, this means within a 3-day period. I finished a painting that I was doing of two people in the middle of a Tango. He is in black and she is in deep rose; background is green and overall effect is fantastic. ‘Finishing’ in this case means I was utterly sick of trying to get their faces looking more or less human. I will never ever paint a person again, I vowed. From now on it’s “Landscapes Only” from this microscopic studio. Feeling great with my decision, I flipped the paper open to the sports page and there, in bright red and yellow are two basketball players scrambling for the ball.

Wow, what a painting this will make, I breathed. Seconds later I was in the throes of enlarging the photo to canvas size and up to my elbow in red and yellow acrylic. The next few days passed in relative silence as I painted while the radio played Mozart to keep my creative juices flowing. The two players took shape, their arms and legs muscular and strong. Their red and yellow shorts and shirts freshly washed and ironed, the low barrier around the court and the background took shape in dark colors. I was right, I gloated, it’s a great painting!

But on each players shoulders rested a pinkish colored ball of nothing. The dreaded face: one in profile (ugh) and the other in full face (double ugh). So what, I thought, as I hummed with Mozart, I can do this by lunchtime. So I did. My in-house art critic, who is also my wife, took one look and shrieked softly. (We do not let out wild or loud shrieks in the retirement home. They have bad connotations). Okay, I mumbled, “I’ll do them again.”

And so I did. This time she laughed and I was happy for a few seconds before I trudged back to the studio. The next 12 times she just shook her head sadly and went back to her Sudoku. The faces are sort of okay now. Tomorrow I will show them to the art instructor in the studio downstairs. He may not agree with my idea of “Okay”.

Meantime I found this great photo of a chef in the kitchen. He is standing right in front of the camera and chopping the vegetables. And he is looking down. That should make it easier, right?