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  • Sam Darling

The portrait problem

Gothic horror, film noire, and melodrama will frequently feature a scene with a spooky portrait. Here are a few examples off the top of my head:

The House on Telegraph Hill

The House on Telegraph Hill



Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows 1
Dark Shadows 2

The only thing I find odd is that they have so few paintings. Our homes were showcases for maternal grandmother, Helene’s, artwork.

Here she is learning her craft in France in the 1930s & ’40s.

1940s? ?? painting class Helene
1947 Millau Helene painting outside
1930s? Helene painting269
36 Acadamie St. Julienne in Paris, Helene painting class

As a result we have dozens of paintings of my mother documenting every stage of her life.

painting 446
painting MC portrait over bed


What about paintings of your grandmother?


Her husband?

1960s painting of Roger

Yourself? The family pets? The family home? Your great aunt? Your cousins? Your great grandmother? Great grandfather?

How about dozens of them?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining–not really–because I know these are an incredible gift, but basically, I’m going to need to live in a really large house with tall ceilings and LOTS of wall space. These all currently reside at my mother’s home and in a chat with friends the other night they asked me about my grandmother’s artwork and I could tell they were thinking of it in terms of a few paintings.

If you visualize managing a wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art then then you’re getting closer to the reality.

1960s Helene MC studio shot painting

I’ve previously mentioned the sketchbook studies for future paintings. Here’s a random drawing of me as a baby.


So I had no choice, right? I had to be a melodramatic, gothic, femme fatale.

The paintings made me do it.

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