We used to call her Hieronymus Bitch, after the Dutch painter. She was not great, as painters go, and she really could be a bitch. She hated any art that she did not make herself, which included old masters, young masters, expressionists, neo-expressionists, abstract painters, cubists, surrealists, it did not matter she hated it.
I remember once she was working on an awful etching of a washing machine in a laundromat. I do mean awful. She had no sense or understanding of the imaging process, Lynn didn’t and she had a tendency to forget, when working in intaglio, that the image, when finished, would print the reverse of the plate. This irked her endlessly. She took it personally this time and I recall with an almost fetishistically mean delight the string of curses she generated, realizing that her precious design was maligned by the reverse, and that all the words on the washing machine were now backwards.
I also remember the expression on Charlie’s face when Lynn’s plate, flung so unexpectedly across the room, sliced into his right pectoral. If Lynn was anything, it was a craftsman, so she had at least expertly bevelled the edges of her plate, which made it a potentially deadly missile.
Charlie was lucky.
The gash was nasty, a deep penetration, but there was no lasting muscle damage. He says that today he still feels pain there when it gets cold outside.
That day it was bitter cold. Inside the Art Building, there was a huge mass of ice condensed on the aluminum edging of the window. Inside the room it was warm and damp, which meant that unless the air outside warmed significantly, the ice mass would keep growing.
Last winter, after a particularly deep cold snap, the windows had cracked, rendering the studios unusable through April. We hoped the same would not happen this year.
Charlie, as it would happen, found himself on the floor, bleeding from the wound in his chest. I stopped him from trying to pull the plate out of his chest, cautioning that the wound might bleed more.
Elizabeth had seen what was happening and rushed down the hallway, hoping that Tom’s office was open, and that the phones were actually working that day. Thankfully they were, and a mere 90 minutes later an ambulance arrived. Charlie was weak but as I said, had sustained no life threatening injury.
Throughout the incident of course Lynn continued to rage and curse, completely oblivious of the fact that she had just thrown a deadly weapon at her faculty advisor.