Jon and I were watching a movie the other day and both of us noticed that nose of the leading actor had a somewhat whimsical bridge. The movie was not so absorbing that we couldn’t speculate on that nasal history, finally deciding that it had met with some immoveable object. Hmmm. Sound familiar? You read it here a couple of posts ago.
As inconspicuously as possible, I sneaked up the stairs to check my own schnoz. The goose egg has shrunken into a poached egg, though I still can’t wear a beret and my teeth ache, but miraculously my beak appears undamaged. This matters because I inherited Grandma Keele’s proboscis and this well-worn face of mine cannot bear too many more insults. My mother, on the other hand, sported an elegant aquiline nose which she hated but which in later life earned her the honour of being chosen as the subject for a bust. I admired her family characteristic just yesterday as I dusted it.
All this nosing around got me started thinking about art. Doesn’t everything. Most portrait subjects have the brains to choose their best angle, but even so, a nose can be a devil to render. My beloved’s is a case in point. This is a nose I know intimately — particularly because Jon is a relentless tease who delights in feeding me fanciful “factoids’ (Are you listening, Donald Trump?) which he will then wait to hear me disgorge in public. I was defenceless until his sister shared the observation that, when Jon’s trying to pull something off, his nostrils flare. So quick spousal honker scans are pretty much automatic now in our house.
You would think that I could draw that snoot with my eyes closed but no such luck. And again, faces have to be exact when it comes to proportion and angles. Even if your sniffer’s bridge, like your eyes, resides about half way up the head, general guidelines are only that; variations are endless (think Jimmie Durante). Jon’s nose is, if anything, too straight and getting its length right still challenges me.
You are thinking that this is a first-world problem and you are right. Besides, there’s a simple solution and a guaranteed winner at modern art shows. From now on my portraits will bear vegetables instead of schnozzles. I’m looking at an acorn squash for me and an elephant garlic clove for Jon. You might want to choose a vegetable now before the best ones are all gone and you are stuck with cauliflower.
This is entitled "The Private Joke." You could park a tractor in that nostril.