Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Celebrated Jumping Frog...


Ribbit-ribbit, acrylic on canvas, 6" x 6"

Mark Twain's story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" inspired the Calaveras Jumping Frog Jubilee, a contest that began in 1928 and has been held every year since. Today's newspaper featured a story on the record-setting jumper from 1986, charmingly named Rosie the Ribiter. My mind drifted back to a simpler time...

Back in the 70s, friends who were renovating a home invited me to draw something on a blank wall that had been taped but not yet painted. Although I don't remember why, I drew an anthropomorphic frog who was burning her bra. (What can I say? It was a time of liberation!!) My friends laughed and, a day or so later, painted over the frog with primer. As soon as the paint dried, Ms. Frog reappeared. "Not to worry," said my friends, "we'll put two coats of the finish paint on and everything should be fine." First coat dried, Ms. Frog reappeared... second coat dried, Ms. Frog reappeared... I think you're beginning to get the idea. As I recall, it took something like 20 coats of paint before Ms. Frog's reappearance was so faint that only the in-crowd could find it. They christened her the Phantom Phrog and, by extension, me too!! And then people began giving me frogs -- plastic frogs, carved wooden frogs, stone frogs, plush toy frogs -- endless numbers of frogs. I will admit that I collected a few myself.


The acquisitions dwindled over the years, but I still have a fondness for frogs, so when I saw this little charmer on eBay, I jumped at the chance to bid. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!!) I painted "Ribbit-ribbit" as part of a series of vintage tin toys last year during my "acrylics phase."

22 comments:

  1. I like it very much, I'm painting toys too at moment and your colors inspire me a lot!
    My congrats.

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  2. Wonderful painting, and great story - you just can't keep a good froggy libber down...

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  3. What a great story and a wonderful painting to go with it. Your art lifts me up. Thanks for sharing it.

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  4. lovit-lovit
    a princely frog

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  5. Thanks, Loredana! I do enjoy the little toys.

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  6. Thanks, Diahn. I've always admired both your artist's eye and your writer's voice. Glad you appreciate my efforts!!

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  7. Glad you like the story and the painting, Ricky! I must admit I do love the silly things in life!!

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  8. Thanks, Margery! A charming response!! :-D

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  9. That's a wonderful story and I love the painting of the frog!!
    I have a friend who also 'loves' frogs and I can't see one without thinking of her and now you ;)

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  10. Chris, what a fun story - maybe not so fun for the homeowners?! ha ha I knew there was a reason we are simpatico - you are a frog lover, too! Love the painting!

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  11. Thanks, Rhonda!! Fortunately, my friends were more amused than annoyed!!

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  12. I love antique toys. I adore this painting Chris. It makes me smile.

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  13. Thanks, Sheila!! I enjoy the light-hearted things I find -- for a bit of cheer on those tough days!!

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  14. This so darn...(dare I use the word?) CUTE! My mom gave me a couple of these years ago. I'll have to fish them out. Another wonderful Chris Beck painting!

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  15. Well, I'll let you get away with it this time, R!! ;-D

    It IS cute, isn't it??

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  16. Aww he's a lovely frog Chris, and a wonderful little painting! All the best!

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  17. Brilliant!! (Story and painting!)

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  18. LOL! What a great story, Chris! So funny about the phantom phrog! Love the comp and colors on this one. brilliant as always! Liz

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  19. Ribbit!! (that's phantom phrog for thanks) ;-D

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