Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes
Why did all the boys ask for pictures, yet the girls did not? The question Mr. Wexlar had posed niggled far more solidly in Brendon’s mind than it had any right to and yet he could not shake it.
Like a bug, the question buzzed obnoxiously, so Brendon found himself drawing swarms of mosquitoes and gnats and no-see-ums, propping them on fields of tufted grass and cattails. He even presented one to Mr. Wexlar one day as a present, who looked down on it with those critical eyes and said, “Why Brendon, this is one of the best works I’ve seen from you. See here, the way you’ve given the wind character and the sunlight presence, and here, the color changes so vividly, like a flash as you’re walking by. Gorgeous. Keep this up.”
It was the first gushing praise Brendon ever received from Mr. Wexlar. And it didn’t come again for months and then only in the presence of Donna Pierceman.
Mr. Wexlar attempted to convince Brendon to submit the piece as part of his end-of-quarter portfolio, but guilt-ridden, he insisted it was a gift and that he had others in mind to complete, but that he would take the praise in stride and maybe do a few more as practice.
The insects he painted for his portfolio ended up being dragonflies on abandoned radio antennas riddling an overgrown patch around a deflated plastic pool. Mr. Wexlar liked that one too. Maybe he just liked bugs.