Hello There!

Acrylic on bristol paper. 1999
I wasn't much of a plant-person back in the late 90s, but when I saw this guy I was compelled to take up gardening, just so that I could be his friend. He wore Steve Martin bunny ears and greeted me with an enthusiastic "Hello there!" every time I saw him. He cheered me up. I thought so highly of him that I decided to paint his portrait.

He grew to about two feet tall and, along the way, he lost the bunny ears; but he did grow a few more arms and always offered breezy salutations to all who passed. For a couple of Christmases my wife and I decorated him and surrounded him with presents. He certainly beamed brightly in that role and was the epitome of Holiday cheer. Sadly, he passed away several years ago, but he is remembered with affection. Other failed plants have been forgotten.

While tossing out old artwork, this painting fell from a portfolio and landed face up. The shade of my departed cactus greeted me once again, the aura of his joyful optimism undiminished, even by his absence. Without thinking, I smiled and waved back.

I'm not going to toss this old painting out. I'm going to keep it and tack it to my wall. Hello there! Yeah. That'll be nice!

The End


  1. Jeff I am a keeper of art. How can you toss your past art? Oh I do know that Kristin wanted to toss art she felt was below her abilities now and we did go through some. I saw her point but still it was what you created!

    I guess because I have thrown away journals from my teen years that I thought I would never have to keep and then now I regret their being tossed. What I would love is to see what I did from that time and not that it was embarrassing and painful to read (or not!) but that it was mine.

    Think twice over your art...it is yours to do as you wish but wasn't it nice to come upon your old plant, bunny ears and all? It brought up some memories..right?

  2. Oh, I'm all talk. I did lump a bunch of stuff together into one storage box, wrote the word "TRASH" on the lid, taped it up… and then put it on a shelf next to a few of other boxes also designated as "TRASH." They've been there for years.

    A few years ago I did a big purge-- about half of what I had. I was a pack rat though; I'd saved receipts and sticky notes with heads drawn on them, stick figures in the margins of my math homework… stuff like that. TONS of it. And some of my really embarrassing student work. Some things just couldn't be allowed to live. ;-P

    Didn't do much damage this time around. Still have a ghastly pile.