This Old Man came rolling home

thisoldmancont1200And this is how it went today…

“Wow, that’s beautiful!”

“You painted it…”

“I did? Are you kidding me? I painted it? I don’t remember this one at all. Are you kidding me? I can’t believe I don’t remember this. Wow, this is beautiful.”

I start to see the face of this old man in it. I don’t see the face at first. Then I start to cry. I’m crying because I can’t remember the time and place when I had created this. I’m crying because I created this. I’m crying because I still don’t remember having painted this. I have to look at it a long while to feel even a vague memory stirring.”

“The stars. I love the stars. My teachers told me my work was too complex and detailed. But this is beautiful. How much did you pay me for it?”

“I traded you baby-sitting remember? 100 hours of baby-sitting. Do you think you got enough for it now?”

“I absolutely think I got enough for it. Wow. I painted this. I’ll have to try this technique again.”

face-closeupblue-clip1“Oh my, I don’t remember this one either!”

2ndoldmannoframe“You don’t remember the frame?”

“No. I don’t remember it at all. Wait… I painted lots of these. One hundred. Your brother has one, so does my aunt. I have the last one, the one with the mask. Will you sell this back to me?”

“No, a famous artist painted it <laughing>. And I have more over here.”

“I can’t believe I forgot about all this. I blocked out everything about those years”

“Even the good stuff?”

“Uhm, yeah…I don’t think you get to pick and choose when you block things out. <sigh>”

This old man, he played nine.
He played knick knack on my mind.
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.


These are (evidently) two of a series of 100 “This Old Man” paintings I did in the 70s and early 80s. This first is 4 feet wide. White glue and acrylic paint on masonite, in a technique I experimented with at the time. Pardon the flash. It was the only way I could show the detailed texture. The second is much smaller, no dimensions taken today. I was kind of in shock still. The rest of the Rhyme is here.

11 thoughts on “This Old Man came rolling home

  1. Wow – I don’t know what to be bowled over by more; the wonderful art of the fact that you had blocked their creation – or rather the time in which they were created. I do that too, so I know how it feels to have something from that time appear, and still be unable to recollect it. It can be scary.

    But how amazing that these remain long after the memories have gone. Art is so enduring; you are truly immortal Diana.

  2. @Emma Maybe some of us spend our lives trying to keep all the pieces of ourselves in the same satchel. It feels like mine are broken up, in boxes left in old storage units I forgot about. I’m glad I got the chance to reconnect with Diana in her 20s. It was a homecoming of sorts and just as moving. Like meeting a daughter I never knew.

  3. Oh, and the biggest bonus was seeing how crazy and experimental my work was before I learned how to do everything “correctly”. Another stint in college, a technical job, and 20 years of corporate honing had sharpened this pencil down into a mere nub.

    Now I will try to take a lesson from Diana in her 20s. Be groovy… you’ll like it.

  4. I’m not sure what to be more jealous of… you’ve created so much beauty you could have forgotten even some of it, or the incredible value of 100 hours of babysitting.

  5. Hi Fred! Nice to see you. We all know that when your kids are small there is nothing more valuable than 100 hours of babysitting! And having someone you can trust is priceless.

    Thank you for your kind compliment too.

  6. I randomly stumbled upon this because i felt like drawing and wanted some inspiration………
    you work is truly amazing! its so…. i cant descibe the feeling…..
    i really appreciate your art 🙂 its beautiful

    just thought you should know! 🙂

  7. Natalie… thanks! I can’t tell you how many artists I’ve found on the web that have inspired me. I don’t always let them know. It’s always wonderful to hear that I can, in turn, inspire someone else. Draw your heart out! 🙂

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