Sunday, June 23, 2013

Slave Labor, Memories, and meeting Lorelei

I've forgotten if I wrote about the conditions of the court settlement between me and Phil, but part of it is that I am to supply him with two paintings every month until one or the other of us dies. This is the first of July's offerings.  I am doing watercolor in order to comply with the 16x20 inch requirement.  I'm not able to paint anything that large, so these can be matted to fit a 16x20 frame.  So far I have been enjoying my task, so long as I forget why I am doing it.  Watercolor was always a joy to me.

This is a picture of a small lane off Clark St..  I have always found it very pretty, and this time of year it is particularly nice with the flowers in bloom.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the ease of which I have been able to immerse myself in watercolor again this time.  There are times when I think I should focus on it because I have a particular style that is unlike what most people do.  I learned  from people who belong to the Cape Ann school, which is pretty distinctive.  Doing it allows me to relive all the years I painted in Rockport.

Yesterday I met a cousin of mine that I haven't seen for fifty years or event set up by my industrious cousin Beth who has been digging into our genealogy for quite some time.  The drive to Ellsworth, where we had lunch together, took me through all the places I used to go with Thelma.  It is certainly the epitome of bittersweet to think of all the times we spent painting or just looking at the beautiful scenery of Acadia National Park.....our painting excursions with Betty Lou, the workshops I taught there because Thelma arranged them.  I remember all the motel rooms and cottages we stayed in, our daily paintings accumulating and balanced on every available surface in the room to critique.  In Milbridge I noticed the little restaurant where we had that delicious apple pie two days in a row, the BLT's at Chase's, the bottle of carrot juice I bought in the small market (I spit out the first swallow).  I drove past the Red Barn Motel where we painted with Betty Lou..........well, experiences that have barely lost their intensity over the years.  It's hard not to be melancholy, but I try to keep those memories pristine.  Thelma herself told me that memories are precious in themselves, and exist outside of the experience after it is gone, a tangible entity we never lose.

Also along that route I passed the area where I taught a workshop for a few summers for my sculpture teacher at the university.  We became friends, and I still am in touch with her today.  My memories there have to do with art as it was then......intense and meaningful in so many ways, how privileged I felt to come to know Deborah.  I still do.  My head filled with the hill house, the dogs running on the beach, haircuts, and cranberry juice spiked with vodka, pheasant under glass, a framed picture of Martha Stewart.......  It all flooded my consciousness.

Then when I got to Ellsworth, my attention turned to my family of origin, the treasure that is my cousin Beth, who links me to the best part of my childhood and reminds me of who I was and am.  With her I am my whole self in a way I had forgotten I could be.....the good part of the past and the present at the same time.  Our cousin Lorelei was understandably reserved, and I didn't really get much of a feeling of who she is.  It was obvious, though, that Beth and I are cut from the same bolt of cloth, whereas Lorelei is a stranger.  It will be nice if more meetings can occur and we all can get to know one another....... because she is part of us nonetheless, part of our history, and we hers. 
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