Paul McMillan 

Surreal Painting

 
 "Between Two Altars Of Fear A Little Girl Said:
"I Just Want ToBe A Flower When I Grow Up."
24" x 36"
Oil on Panel
(Hand carved, gilt frame made by Paul McMilan)
No. 79

In this Surreal Geopolitical Painting, "Between Two Altars Of Fear A Little Girl Said: "I Just Want To Be A Flower When I Grow Up," an original oil on panel, I wanted to create an artwork in response to the Berlin Wall coming down.

What I saw on television the day that the Wall fell in Berlin didn't seem real, and I thought that all of my life I had heard so much made of what we should fear from each other, that in fact the fear of total annihilation from both sides was the balance of power. I left my studio at 115 Martyrs' Lane, Taos, NM fearing nothing. Naturally, I ran straight into a group of five women and a child headed in my direction. Ila, the nicest person imaginable, and my neighbor who was ninety years old, introduced me to her friend of eighty-eight with her daughter of sixty-five, granddaughter in her forties, great-granddaughter in her mid twenties with her four-year -old child who was completely preoccupied with a fresh plucked dandelion that she was clutching. After discussing the big news of the day with these laidies, Ila, the oldest in this group, asked the little girl, the youngest, to tell us what she wanted to be when she grows up. The little girl's response was "I Just Want To Be A Flower When I Grow Up." I looked at the oldest lady in this group and realized that at ninety she was the full expression of the human flower. In this milli-second of thoughts the thing that struck me as the most surprising is that I almost felt frustrated with the child, as it was plain to see that for her, the dangers of the big bad world meant nothing compared to the beauty of the flower she was holding, and ultimately wanted to be when grown up. I got over it since ignorance is bliss and attempting to make beautiful paintings is my therapy.

I made a sketch that afternoon and began painting the next day.

The Taos News said "On the other hand, one of the worst---and an example of the figure as a literal motif incidental to the aesthetic---is Paul McMillan's oil, A Little Girl Said: 'I Just Want To Be A Flower When I Grow Up,' a piece that is as hard to look at as the title is to read."

If I had it to paint over, and it is within my power, I still would not paint the little girl to look real, which is also in my power, nor would I put a real person in this position in real life if I had that kind of power, which I don't.

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