My Mistake

I have another Outer Banks painting to post in the next few days, but in the meantime I want to relay this story and finished image now that we are back home.

In my last post I showed a Hopper inspired plein air painting of a vacation home across the way in the Outer Banks. I liked this attempt because it was fun to do, challenging in its forms, and I thought I made some good decisions regarding what to paint on it.

The next morning as I was making coffee I had my paintings out on the dining table, and my 4 year old daughter wandered over there. Then I heard,”Daddy, can I have some paper?”

“Sure, hold on. Let me finish the coffee.”

When I went to give her paper I saw her over my painting with a green crayon. Then I saw the painting. You can guess what had happened.

“Audrey, did you draw on my painting?”


“No, we never draw on other people’s paintings. I will give you your own paper over there. But don’t draw on my paintings. We have to respect other people’s art work.”


I was a little annoyed, and there seemed to be an important lesson here. Then I saw what she drew on it. “DADDY.” Big and green across the top.

“Wait. Audrey, did you sign my painting for me?”

“Yeah,” She smiled as if I should have known that immediately.

I was really touched. She was proud of my painting and signed it just like she signs hers. I gave her a hug and a kiss and explained why I told her not draw on other people’s work, but that once I read what she wrote I thought it was so sweet of her to try to sign mine. I wasn’t smart enough to take a picture of it like that or keep it as she signed it. I wish I did now. Instead, to recover the original painting, I sanded off the crayon and extended the sky so it would look better in a matte. I miss the giant green “DADDY,” though. That’s what really made it special. The lesson to learn was mine more than hers.



9 thoughts on “My Mistake

  1. Phyllis W. Zeno May 26, 2013 / 2:46 am

    Corey–I just discovered your blog and love the painting and the story even more!
    I just spent the evening with you and Katie and your darling little girls and someone sent me a picture of Audrey and me at the magic show. What a happy evening spent with you and your family. I’m so glad we moved near you and get a chance to see your little girls growing up and you evolving into a great painter. Wow!

    • coreyaber June 1, 2013 / 5:58 pm

      Thank you! We had a very nice time as well.

  2. Louise May 26, 2013 / 8:29 am

    Back in the (Renaissance) day, assistants often did a lot of the hard work, but the artist got to sign the picture! Audrey just did it the other way.

    • coreyaber May 26, 2013 / 10:28 am

      I like it! What a great way to think of this.

  3. lesliemetz2 May 26, 2013 / 11:46 am

    Corey- Love this painting… And the story.

  4. laber1 May 26, 2013 / 5:09 pm

    I will always see a green DADDY in these clouds. I love the two who “worked” on his together…Audrey and Daddy a vey wise and patient man.

  5. davidtripp May 28, 2013 / 9:59 am

    Very nice, Corey! I think of Edward Hopper as soon as I glance at this composition, especially a white house with a 45-degree angle slant of light. I always like to read Emily Dickinson and her “Slant of Light”. No doubt you are drawing plenty of inspiration from these pieces.

  6. windhound June 5, 2013 / 1:38 am

    You’re right, the lessons are always ours! Even the house seems to say father and off-spring.

  7. lesliepaints June 6, 2013 / 10:44 am

    OMG!!!!! This is my most favorite post I’ve read in awhile, Corey. A million stars for you! Yes. I probably would have framed the painting with the Daddy written across it. Get her going on watercolor if you can. I have had a great time with my Granddaughter and am amazed at how well she does. I taught her with good paints and paper. It made all the difference as the colors are brighter. I explained every single step and sat next to her, showing her how to use her brush and keep dipping her brush in the water and rinse before going to the palette wells for more. They can do it!!!!!!

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