Sneezing with a mouthfull of paint

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Fri Apr 7 14:46:18 UTC 2006

On Fri, 7 Apr 2006, Maria da F� Peres wrote:

#Dear Mark Mandel, 
#Once Yu kindly helped me solving a problam regarndg a "still woman"
#(messages aboves). The book was happily concluded in due time, already at
#print, and hope will published nex May.
#Now, I am again puzzled with an expression at new book I am translating.
#This one belongs to a tipically american author (it's a thriller) and some
#of the words or sentences probably are very located in USA.
#The expression is: "Sneezing with a mouthfull of paint" within the following
#someone speaks about an art critic who claims (imodestly) to be very
#specialised in a determined famous painter. The other person answers the
#above sentence.
#I think this is an idiomatic expression, perhaps with the sense that this
#particular critic speaks/claims a lot more than he ought. But I'm not sure.
#Could yu kindly help once more?
#Thanks in advance
#Maria Peres
#P.S. By the way, do yu know an online service who answers doubts like this
#one, particular for english from America? 

I'm not familiar with this expression as an idiom, or with any similar 
idiom. But with the limited context that you have provided, I get a strong 
impression that the expression refers not to what the critic is saying, but 
to the painter's style: that his canvases don't look as if he had painted 
them, but as if he had sneezed with a mouthful of paint -- that is, paint is 
scattered randomly all over the canvas.

By the way, "specialised in a determined famous painter" is obscure; do you 
mean "specific" rather than "determined"?

I don't know of any online service as such for such questions, but I am 
copying this reply to the American Dialect Society, as before. Question to 
the subscribers of the list: is this all right with you, in terms of list 

-- Mark A. Mandel
[This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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