|Publisher:||Wings ePress, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.21(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
It all began when the Agora Gallery of Fine Art opened at the mall. Philip Felton and Emery Wyatt were fourth grade classmates at the Donovan Elementary School, which had just gotten a new art teacher that year. Somehow their class got scheduled for art three periods a week, more than any other class. Ever since September, the two best friends had been painting, cutting, pasting, drawing, coloring and making collages more than they ever had in their lives. For the most part, it was fun. Not as much fun as having three gym periods a week, but better than sitting, bored, in the classroom.
When, on one Saturday morning in late March, Philip's father had to go to the mall to get some office supplies, Philip and Emery went with him. Each boy had saved a few quarters and planned to spend them on the video games at the arcade on the second floor of the mall.
"Want to go see that new art gallery?" Emery asked as the two boys left the arcade, poorer but satisfied they'd spent their money well.
That stopped Philip in his tracks. "What for?" he asked, frowning. "Don't we get enough of that at school?"
Emery shrugged. "We might get homework that says we have to see some art or something dumb like that. You know Ms. Trinetti likes to give homework like that. Especially to us 'cause we have her so much."
Philip nodded. He couldn't argue that.
Ms. Trinetti was the new, young, chubby, enthusiastic art teacher, who had long blonde hair and wore sandals to school every day no matter the weather. She'd told her students how much she'd liked art when she was their age. How she'd won prizes in high school with her paintings. How she'd studied art in college for four years.How she'd studied art in graduate school for another two years. Both Philip and Emery were unsettled hearing how much school lay ahead even after fourth grade was over.
"If she does, then we can say we were already in an art gallery. We won't have to do anything."
Philip nodded. Emery's idea made some sense. "You know where it is?"
"Down the end," and Emery pointed.
The Agora Gallery of Fine Art was the size of two stores. Philip remembered that a sneaker store had once been in the end spot. What the other store had been, he couldn't recall.
The walls of the gallery were bright white and covered with paintings. The room smelled new. When they entered, a pretty, young, Asian woman smiled at them. The woman had long black hair pulled into a ponytail and was seated behind a white plastic counter on their right. "Come to take a look around, boys? If you have any questions, my name is Tracy."
Emery and Philip nodded and smiled in return.
"Be sure to take one of our contest flyers when you leave," and she tapped a pile of red papers.
Philip and Emery walked up to the first painting on the wall opposite Tracy.
The painting was a square, two feet on a side, enclosed in a shiny, black plastic frame. Emery and Philip stared.
"What's it look like to you?" Philip said thoughtfully.
Emery studied it. "It looks like feet," he said.
Footprints of different sizes and colors pointed in all directions. Any space that wasn't covered by a footprint was filled with either small bluebirds or small red devils. And any space that wasn't covered with footprints, birds, or devils was painted green.
"Yeah, to me, too," said Philip. "Why would anybody paint feet?"
Emery turned to Philip and smiled. "Maybe somebody 'toed' the artist to."
Philip gave a snort of laughter and looked over his shoulder. Sure enough, Tracy had heard them and was coming their way, holding a piece of yellow paper in her hand.
"Everything all right, boys?" She smiled.
Both Philip and Emery nodded, pressing their lips together tightly, trying not to laugh.
"Here, you can read about this painting and this artist." She handed Philip the yellow paper and went back to her seat.
Philip and Emery turned their backs to her and faced the painting.
"What's it called?" Emery asked.
There was a number one on the head of a small tack stuck into the wall next to the painting, so Philip matched that number one with the number one on the sheet Tracy had given him.
"It's called, Journey Through Life. Emery, you know how much this thing costs!"
Philip gave him a look. "Pfft. Try three thousand five hundred dollars."
"Three thousand five hundred dollars! For colored feet?"
The boys looked at the painting with a new appreciation.
Emery took the paper from Philip and studied it. Then he turned and walked over to Tracy.
"Did anybody buy that feet painting?" he asked.
"Not yet," Tracy said raising her eyebrows. "Interested?"
Emery shook his head hard and walked back to the painting.
Suddenly, Philip grabbed the paper back from Emery.
"Look at this!" he said. At the top of the page were the words: ARTIST: Olivia Trinetti.
"Must be. Yeah, it says here she's a teacher and everything."
"Wow," said Emery. "Ms. Trinetti paints feet when she's not in school."
That sounded so silly both boys started laughing again.
"Shhh," said Philip. "That lady'll hear us."
They controlled themselves and moved to the next painting.
"Did she paint this one, too?" Emery asked.
"Yeah. She painted 'one,' 'two,' 'three,' and 'four.'"
The boys studied painting number 'two.' This time instead of feet, bananas covered the canvas. Bananas of every possible color. Except yellow. The background of the painting was yellow.
"What's this called?" Emery asked. "The Bananas of Life?"
They snorted with laughter again.
"It's called The Possibilities of Life," said Philip.
"I find it quite a-peel-ing," said Emery. Philip and Emery looked at each other and started laughing again. When they realized the noise they made, they squeezed their lips tightly together and moved on.
The third painting was on the other side of a wall that shielded them from Tracy's view, and they were glad for the protection.
"Feet and bananas," said Emery with a shake of his head. They looked at painting number 'three' and started laughing again.
This painting was of nothing but eyes. Big eyes, small eyes. Eyes of every color against a background of red.
By now the boys couldn't stop laughing. Having to laugh without making any noise only made them laugh harder. Through teary eyes Philip looked at the paper for the title of the painting.
In a sputtering whisper he said, "The Vision of Life." "'Eye' guess that's a good name," said Emery, pulling down the skin under his left eye. In between breaths of laughter, he added, "Too bad she couldn't put everything into one painting. The eyes could watch the feet squish the bananas."
"Stop it," laughed Philip. His sides were starting to hurt.
The boys peeked at the fourth painting and had to turn away.
When they thought they could handle it, they turned back to the painting. They burst into giggles again and struggled hard to stay quiet.
The fourth painting was covered with dancing pickles. Green pickles with tiny legs and eyes, but no arms. And each pickle wore a hat of a different shape and color, and each hat had a colorful feather in it. The background of this painting was orange.
Gasping for breath, the boys looked at the paper to find the title of the painting.
"The Joy of Life," said Philip, hardly able to speak.
"Yeah," Emery sputtered. "If you like gherkins."
"Let's get out of here," said Philip, who knew he couldn't stand laughing silently much longer without either hurting himself or screaming out loud.
The boys turned their backs on the paintings and breathed in and out.
After a minute Philip said, "Are you okay?"
Emery took a deep breath. "I think so."
Philip opened and closed his mouth a few times because it was hurting back near his ears from laughing so much.
They calmly walked out from behind the wall toward Tracy's desk.
"Enjoy the paintings, boys?" Tracy smiled.
Both boys nodded, not trusting themselves to speak.
"Don't forget this paper," and Tracy handed them one of the red papers.
Emery grabbed it and followed Philip back into the mall.