"Wally's Garden," 12" x 16", acrylics on an Ampersand panel, depicting Wally, a kitty from my childhood, and some special guests. You can read more about the idea behind this painting in the captions accompanying the in process photos. This painting will be heading to my childhood best friend's home shortly.
My childhood BFF lost her both parents last month. I have so much more than merely fond memories of them, because I am living a life that they actively nurtured and set me upon.
You see, her Mom introduced me to the fine art of throwing a tea party. To taking pride in your work (this woman embroidered enough fabric to reupholster her entire house - and did!). To fairies (she sprinkled me with fairy dust the day of my high school graduation). She took me to my first symphony. And my first visit to a museum. Her home was my introduction to playing piano and PBS. She regularly took me to Baskin Robbins (and patiently waited for me to try a good amount of the 31 flavors before settling, like always, on rainbow sherbet, not because of the taste, but because of the colors). She introduced me to Beatrix Potter, Shel Silverstein, and Shakespeare. The mystery of cats, but black ones in particular. And above all, she hinted there was far more to life than what our small town promised.
Her Father demonstrated mountains of patience, waiting years for a new seed to show it's merit. In forethought, as each square in his garden (which spilled from their yard into neighbors' properties) was meticulously planned, edged and labeled. The beauty of a line, a true and honest line like only Mother Nature can trace, like the arch of a frond or the curve of a branch. The value of a good day's work, even better if finished with dirt under your nails. The anticipation of a promising read - stacks of material encircled his chair, tagged with slips of paper and dogeared pages, and every room of their home (minus the kitchen) included wall to ceiling builtins packed with books (all of which were happily loaned out). And the value of listening as opposed to being the center of attention, because listening meant one could take more careful notes.
This painting was born out of sitting quietly with my memories over the course of a week. The process of creating unearthed laugh aloud moments and some tears, but it also brought me a truer appreciation for this remarkably generous and loving couple. Talk about art as therapy.
Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!