The Way of the Transgressor

This watercolor has hung around pretty much my whole life. Inked and painted by William J Steinigans, it came into our family when we bought a tarpaper cottage long since sold, flattened, and replaced by something shiny and new.

Growing up, I tried to make sense of the painting. I looked for the other white glove, wondered what party the guy had come from, and what would happen next.

My affiinity for the piece fits nicely with my belief that sin can be funny, and sinners more so. Even when dark.

This painting always put me off balance. As a young child, I felt I was being bad just looking at it. Later, it made me feel empowered, if a little weird, for liking it.

Eventually, the painting was moved to a newer cottage where it hung in a dark corner behind a massive stone chimney, where no one would see it. But I knew where it was and sneaked peeks now and then.

And when that second cottage was sold and the artwork distributed among siblings and cousins, this was the piece I insisted on taking. I couldn't imagine being without it.

Now it hangs by my desk where I see it every day.

There are a thousand stories in this painting. And I trust Mr. Steinigans, dead these ninety-some years, chuckles at them all.