Last month, via Facebook, I contacted a painter living in Moscow to ask if he would sell me one of his paintings. His name is Alexey Stepanov and I find his work to possess an air of timelessness that I don’t see in my painting. I like it mostly, I guess, because it is good, and isn’t mine. I wanted to save the money up by September for an October birthday present to give to my wife. This was a big step for me. I usually keep to my own self in matters of discomfiting. I expected a big Russian, “Ha! You want me to sell my work on American layaway? Go jump in the Moskva!”
Instead, he suggested we trade. I don’t know Russian. His English is bad, and the Internet translator he connects to, translates my messages into nonsense—for example—“I painting like a dog eat with my wife a moon the size pickling”.
He agreed to sending me the painting I desired, Lovers, an 8 x 10 inch, to keep shipping costs low. And I picked out a small triptych for him. When he found out I was sending three, he threw another one of his into the bargain. The Red Pipe, a landscape that reminds me of the town I live in.
Magic feeling. I am still on a high. His suggesting this trade, the follow through, the kindness, the reverence, means more to my soul than if some billion-millionaire sent Triscuit® suits to my door to buy up the entire basement archive.
A painter admiring the work of another painter. Fuel to continue.