Relishing Life

Yesterday I got to visit with a special friend. We met a few years ago. I wanted to take a life drawing class and couldn’t find a spot in her group. After several tries I finally got in.

The class was at night. Each week she had a new model. New props and setup. She had a list of supplies she wanted in our bag and she warned us they would all be used.

Having put in a long day at the office this could have been a soothing and relaxing experience. That was not the case. The class entailed breaking through our fears and that was accomplished by constant pushing.

Orchids from my window sill.

Orchids from my window sill.

Dancing music was the backdrop to the physicality of the class. Large paper, big strokes, fast pace and greater demands to cope with moving props, changing sets, and sometimes even easels all in the same piece. Sketch over sketch, brush, draw, erase, smudge, block, again and again.

Technique, practice, encouragement, demands! And before I knew it, we were friends.

Today, after early retirement due to Parkinson’s disease, her life revolves around being able to work with her body to keep up with the person she very much is. Though we didn’t make the art show last week, we did connect on Saturday.

We got to chat, walk the dog, go over her storage boxes and drawers where she keeps drawings by her students and some of her work in progress. We talked some more, did yoga, had fun with the Wii, had an impromptu fashion show with her ‘findings’ and things she needs to give away.

After she got into something snazzy, we were going to make a run to see my work in progress and maybe grab a bite but not before she showed me the fountains with the koi and the catfish, the beautiful lily pads, and reminded me I needed to make the Sargent show at the MFAH or I would so regret it!

I got a valuable critique and she wanted to see more so we left my home studio and headed to Guiton Street. Her legs slowed down on  her a bit and we popped out the walker she had the mind to bring with us.

Up at the studio she was unstoppable. Not only did I get a critique on almost every piece hanging but she decided she was going to curate my May exhibition. So she did! Right then and there.

“Take this down, put these together, I don’t like that frame,” she said as she did it all herself. A cyclone of a woman with me at her tail.

We totally redid the studio, laid out the works she wants to see hanging and I finally convinced  her, no, she finally admitted to needing to eat something. So we went to eat Tai fajitas at Mai’s and if you’ve ever had them, you know you make them yourself at the table.

“How about dessert? she said, “I know this wonderful macaron shop…”

After agreeing it would be best to call it an evening and resting up for the next day, we headed back to her place. She said she’d make me a selection of her favorite dancing songs and asked if maybe we should dance upstairs. We do both love to dance.

I honor my friend and I thank her for being who she is, a woman who has lived a beautiful and not so beautiful life of beauty, sorrow, enchantment, art and teaching. A woman who despite everything that health limitations bring has more freakin’ fire in her veins than 10 people put together.

For this and all that you are, I THANK YOU DARRA.

 

 

 

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