An Art Gallery, Carmel-by-the-Sea

July 2018

My Stories

Mother of all Road Trips-1

Mother of all Road Trips-2

Mother of all Road Trips-3

Mother of all Road Trips-4

Containing Jim in Paris

Ranging the Yellowstone

Lisbon Portugal- Part 1

Lisbon and Sintra- Part 2

Evora Portugal- Part 3

Coimbra Portugal- Part 4

Porto Portugal- Part 5

At the Mammogram Office

Carmel Art Gallery

Venice- Part I

Veneto- Part II

Ravenna- Part III

Cinque Terre- Part IV

Vernazza Bonus- Part V

Granner

Crunch Time

Putting on the Ritz

Granada and Sevilla

Amsterdam

Tuscany and Umbria - 1

Tuscany and Umbria - 2

Driving in England

Dwelling in England

A Dozens Reasons

In the Hamam

Istanbul Greece Diary

Pearl Harbor Team

Old Girl

Paris

Provence

Grandpa's Cabin

Pay-It-Forward Latte

England and France

N. Italy - 1

N. Italy - 2

N. Italy - 3

N. Italy - 4

Lessons from 4 Corners

Mexico

Going to the Dogs

Don't Embarrass Me!

Letter from Siena

Arrivederci Roma

Joining the Matriarchs

Living History

Newlywed Game

Chaos Theory

Zach on the Road

Huckleberry Season

Stanley & the Sunbeam

I Dare Say

Legacy

Middle School Relay

Grad Party

Yellowstone

Moving On

Radio Shack

Newlywed Couches

Visitors

Old Faithful Inn

Snowbound

Sweet Potato

Mother Bear

Two Blondes in Iberia

Revisiting Spain

Four Seasons Camping

Curly's Truck.

Disaster Restorations

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Ducks and Beavers

Wearing Red

Photo Boxes

Las Vegas Soufflé

40th Birthday Party

The Heart Tickler

Wonderful Little Things

Heritage Tour

Erickson Era

Old Buildings

Chelsea's

Split Seams

All Nighter

Talent Show

A Look Back

I try the gallery handle, but nothing gives.  It’s attached to one of those Dutch doors that divides horizontally.  The top half is open to the world, but pushing the handle on the lower half gets me nowhere. 

The 70-year-old Asian owner chuckles at her desk before scurrying to the door.

“I can’t open it,” I explain, assuming the fault lies with me. 

The owner bends down and releases the bolt from the floor.  “I keep it locked, “ she admits, then invites us inside. 

“I keep my door locked to keep other artists out.  You’re not an artist, are you?” she asks, studying my face. 

“Oh, no,” I answer.  Jim cowers behind me, wishing he could escape.  

“Why don’t you like artists coming in?” I ask.  (I can’t help myself.)  

“Because they like to steal the ideas of my artists.  They sneak in here, pretending they’re not artists.  But I know.”

“How can you tell?” I ask.  (I am terrible, yes.  But I need to know this.) 

“It’s hard to say.  I suppose they examine the paintings differently.  But I listen to them talk, and I figure them out.” 

We turn a corner and run into a sign the owner has posted on a stand in the middle of the passageway.  “NO ARTISTS OR ART STUDENTS ALLOWED!” 

At some point in history our owner diversified from banning artists to banning art students.  She points to the sign, her secondary battle front.  “I can also tell they’re artists because they stop and look worried when they see this.”  Jim tries to appear as innocent as any creature possibly could, like our dog Bailey after consuming the entire contents of a bag from Taco Bell.  Jim keeps his eyes fixed to the floor, not wanting to accidentally shoplift any art concepts. 

“So, you’re not an artist, are you?” she asks me again, eyes narrowing.  I reassure her, no.  Jim tries to fade into the gallery walls.  Me, I’m captivated by this whole line of conversation.

Desperate to change the subject, Jim asks the owner if she participates in the village’s art festival.  “Oh, no,” she laughs, “they don’t like me.  And I don’t like them!” 

“I started this gallery 29 years ago because my husband said I needed something to do.  I know more about art and artists than anyone here.  The artists in Carmel aren’t any good--all the same stuff--and since I know who they all are now, I don’t let any of them inside.  They don’t understand good art anyway.  My clients do, but the artists in town don’t.”

Jim gently steers her away from the artists to her husband of 32 years who passed away last year.  They met in Manilla where he served as a United States military attaché.  On one occasion she stumbled upon his spy radio in their den’s bookcase but never told a soul.  She pulls photos and articles about him from her desk, eager to touch back upon his life. 

She taps my arm affectionately as we inquire further about her husband.  Just that quick, she adopts us as friends--her non-artist friends.  Eventually we ease ourselves towards the door.  She unlocks the bolt so we can exit.  We thank her for letting us visit her gallery and wish her all the best. 

As we walk into the street, Jim praises her art to me in a loud voice, certain she eaves-drops.  We hear the click of the lower half of her gallery door, once again safe from infiltrating artists. 

Back at our hotel, Jim looks up her Yelp reviews.  Apparently she’s been barricading and interrogating artists for years.  Turns out that practice doesn’t garner a whole lot of stars on Yelp.  I ask Jim if he’d feared she might quiz him about his own artist status. 

“Oh, yeah,” he says, “but I had an answer ready.  I am a dentist.  Nobody ever suspects the dentist.”