Feeling mournful on this morning,
I am finding the light I seek
in the wonders of a grandchild.
There are two new paintings
which I am packaging up today
to wing their way out to Santa Fe
to the Sugarman Peterson Gallery
May they bring you some peace.
Dreamcatcher – 20 x 22
Not sure if it’s the finch or her perch
but this tender glancing gesture
reminds me of a little poem
by Micheal Longley…
after the irish
she is the touch of pink
on crab apple blossoms
and hawthorn and she melts
frost flowers with her finger
“There are no secrets we keep from our shoes.” – 16 x 20
but quite unknowingly,
Zoe helped me tell a story
which I’d been wanting to tell
for many many years…
Shortly after his wife Polly died
my pal Ted brought down from the attic
tied together with one sturdy twined string
a pair of purple suede pumps,
saying Polly had wanted me to have these.
Then he told me the story
that, when on a trip to San Francisco,
they had bought this pair of shoes
for a special occasion
and Ted, being Ted,
had gussied them up with some sparkly silver painted swirls
and they, the Meinelts and their shoes
had danced the night away.
When it came time to pack for the trip home
the shoes wouldn’t fit in their suitcase.
So, Polly being Polly,
she slapped some shipping labels on the soles
tied them together with that twine
and dropped them in the closest US Mail box.
In gifting them to me
I understood that the torch of a challenge
had been passed.
Over the years
the sparkle paint has faded
but the purple of those pumps
has kept on popping that story
into my creative consciousness.
Along the way,
and true to form,
the Muses threw a title down like a gauntlet…
While listening to Alexander McCall Smith’s
The #1 Ladies Detective Agency series,
a perennial studio favorite,
the character Mma Grace Makutsi,
she who graduated at 97% in her secretarial class,
utters the line..
“There are no secrets we keep from our shoes.”
The context is a bit complicated to explain
and if you’ve read this far in these painter’s notes
then you probably are already familiar
with the conversations Grace has with her shoes,
and if you aren’t then you are in for a treat
as I believe there are up to 19 books in that series now
and no, I cannot remember well enough to credit the exact
volume in which this line appears, apologies to Mr. Smith.
What is relevant for our story here
is that I stopped the flying brushes
and wrote that line down
on a scrap of paper
which has made the cut on every list
in each sketchbook since
of what I want to paint next.
when Zoe was visiting the studio last summer
and she had emptied the drawer of all the aprons
and had carefully tied each one of them on
one on top of the other,
and she asked if I had any shoes to go with her outfit…
well there ya go.
It wasn’t until she took a break from all that cooking
and collapsed with a hrrrumph
into the comfy easel chair
and propped up her exhausted and aching feet
and the muses veritably SCREAMED at me
that I…finally…had my way in.
I don’t know whether this train
will take her all the way to Botswana
but I know with all my heart
that in her dreams…
those shoes are dancing.