Monday, December 03, 2007

First Snow and Rockport Memories

Yesterday when Jesse and Sabrina left, it was a typical late Fall day. The weather report was for snow, which is why they left a day earlier than expected. This morning I woke up to the beginning of the storm, which is still going on at five o'clock. It's a fairly poor excuse for a winter storm, considering the dire predictions and cancellations, but it does the job of announcing winter.

The visit with the kids (I still call them that) was very nice. We had no time to do anything but visit and eat. Since we had all had turkey at Thanksgiving, we decided to have roast beef for Thanksmas dinner. It tasted good in spite of my recent vegetarian leanings. Since they have just moved into their own appartment, I gave them two paintings to hang on their new walls. They gave me a very beautiful bowl that is hand made with an unusual process, resulting in thin layers of fired clay that make the design.. The artists use horses as one of their subjects, which is ideal for me of course. I am thrilled with it.
Since it was too stormy for me to want to go out, I spent a quiet day. I painted for the first time in my new studio, but it was after the sun went down and I can see that something needs to be done about the light in there. The ceiling light is too diffuse and weak, but my spot light is so strong it reflects off the paint and makes it impossible to judge the color. Since I rarely paint after dark, it really wouldn't be much of a problem, but for the rare occasions I want it, I'll have to fix it.
Speaking of painting, I was looking at a book of prints the other day and the subject of the work was mostly landscapes of places I have painted myself. There were many of Eastport in the 30's and 40's, and many more of Rockport, Massachusetts where I spent such happy times at Betty Lou's workshops. Seeing the prints excited me and I suddenly wanted to talk to Betty Lou. I decided to give her a call, which I often want to do and don't follow through. When she answered the phone, she told me that she had just talked to Thelma and was planning to call me. It turned out that the printmaker I was reading about was an old friend of hers............As we talked, my call-waiting signalled to me that Thelma was calling. I called her when I had finished with Betty Lou.
The whole experience was so uplifting to me. The incredible coincidences that brought us three together that morning thrilled me. It seemed like a gift, as if the fates had decided to remind us of our connection to each other. When I think about my past, I always remember my trips to Rockport as the happiest times in my life. I was so inspired by Betty Lou, in such awe of her talent and her incredible ability to alter my life for the short time I was there and afterwards. She was bigger than life, inspiring in me something like worshipful admiration. She made me feel like an artist, and that being an artist was the most important thing anybody could be. I felt like part of a huge, wonderful family..... and part of the group of artists who followed Betty Lou, people so special to me that I will always be grateful for their presence in my life. Rockport was a magical place where art mattered more than anything else, and I was part of it. By my side was Thelma, smoothing the way for me to enter that world. How generous she was to include me, what an incredible influence she has been. Her own dedication to painting was an inspiration for mine. Her affection for me was a treasure that sustained me through so many difficult times and enhanced so many wonderful times. My affection for her is boundless.
The three of us bonded together into a unit, unlikely friends flung all over New England and then reconverging time and again to share our lives for those few days that often sustained me for the rest of the year. It's been a few years since we've been able to see one another. The phone calls invigorated me. It brought those memories to the forefront of my mind, and reminded me of what I had, and what I still have with them despite the distance. It reminded me of how fortunate I have been to have had such a very special relationship.
Nostalgia is sometimes unpleasant, but thinking of all of this is a pleasure for me rather than feeling sad that those times are gone. No shred of regret for things done or not done, said or not said, mars my gratitude for what our connection means to me.

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