My Ducky Masterpiece in the Attic

Posted August 10, 2012 by jimhigley


Did you hear about the Da Vinci painting recently discovered in a Scottish farmhouse?

The owner, Fiona McLaren, received the painting from her father who, in turn, had received the painting many years ago from a patient.  McLaren admits to never particularly liking  the painting – but used it to fill wall space in her home for the last fifty years.

But after recently letting the folks at Sotheby’s take a look at it, she’s learned that the unliked wall-space-filler is a 500-year old work by the Renaissance master and is worth over $150 million!

Let me just type that again. $150 million!

(If you’re anything like me, you’re doing a quick mental inventory of your own home. “What might I possibly have in my home that could be a treasure?”)

Well, while you think about that, I wanted to share a treasure I rediscovered in my attic over the weekend.

What would you call this? A landscape with duck? A duckscape?

Of course, the artist  isn’t a 500-year old master. But he is someone that will make you chuckle.


Make that a 15-year-old me.

I was a pretty decent artist as a little kid. In fact, my mom enrolled me in painting classes when I was in junior high – where I learned how to paint things like landscapes, trees, and winter snowy scenes (my specialty I might add!). And somewhere along the way, a good friend of my dad’s asked me to do a duck painting for him.

I gladly accommodated his request. And here’s the finished product.

Dang, I still remember driving it to his office – as proud as I could be – to give him his treasured duck painting – which I’m told he had framed and displayed in his office for all the ensuing years of his life.

Until it worked its way back to me several years ago after his death – and thanks to the kindness of his own kids.

And while I certainly appreciated their thoughtfulness and the sentimental value of all of this, I retired it to the attic because, truthfully, I’m not a duck fan.

So today I’m really torn. I don’t want it. I’m not a duck fan. But I’m sort of proud of it. Then on the other hand it kind of bothers me because it reminds me of a so-so talent that I’ve let slip away. Who knows, with a little practice, I could have been that guy drawing caricatures at Disneyland?

What would you do if you were me? So far, I’ve come up with these options:  

1. Toss it and get over it. It’s junk.

2. Set it in the alley and pray someone takes it.

3. Hang it in the kids’ bathroom as a mini shrine to dad.

4. Repaint over it and kick off a revived art career.

5. Send it to to Mrs. McLaren. She obviously has a blank wall right now.

6. Award it to the highest bidder and give proceeds to my newest favorite charity, Single Jingles, a great testicular cancer group.

Your thoughts?

  • Maria

    Hi, take a good photo of it . Write its history underneath it. Put it in an album or photo cd and then take the picture and give it to someone who likes it so it can move on. It has value only to the one who appreciates it. I am sure someone will enjoy having the picture that you painted.

    • Jim Higley

      Great advice Maria. I think taking photos of “things I hate to part with” is a great idea. Photo it, preserve it for the few times in your life you might want to enjoy it…..and then don’t worry about it!

  • Stacy

    Wrapping it and giving it as a gift (after taking the photo that Maria suggested) kind of makes me smile:) Then someone else will be posting their dilemna.  “Help!  My , , , gave me a duckscape that he painted as a kid.  What should I do?” 

    • Jim Higley

      Stacy – LOVE it. Make it someone else’s problem….so in a year or so we’ll be reading someone’s blog about “what the hell am I supposed to do with this duck!”. I’m so tempted to ask for your shipping address!(hehehehe)

  • Vtcozy

    Single Jingles….And Take up Painting again .. You never lose the Talent Jim

  • Bttkaruah

    wow Mr talented
    give it to me if your considering tossing it. I’ll hang it proudly
    Seriously, save it for the kids, don’t hang it in their bathroom….yet
    and then if the kids don’t want it, you can ship it to me 🙂