Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thriving Together, in Art

We buried a friend last month. She was above all else a mother and an artist. Unique and loved, sorry to leave and ready to go. Her son wrote beautifully about her and especially about her last days. When I am a bit less raw about it all I will write something about natural burial, which brought her closest friends and family together to honor her and our relationships with her. But today I am thinking about three young artists I met twenty-some years ago, in a college campus apartment. Here is a poem I wrote, years later. An example of how art inspires art....though I'm not sure it's finished yet:


Three easels set up in a college apartment
three student-artists drawing hands.
One of them seems to be getting it true,
the other two point out. Someone says:
“hands are the hardest thing.”

That echo from the past comes to me now
because I can’t stop thinking of your hands,
remembering them, picturing them to the point of
tactile imaginings bringing them real, here and now.

Sam Shepherd man-hands,
sailor hands, builder hands, lover hands –
even resting they hold a lifetime and mine
resting in them look so small that, just to see them
–mine in yours – I am sixteen again, wanting to be your girl.

If I were looking only at hands
a curtain hiding the rest I would know
my sons’ at all their ages, my mother’s, my sister’s.
And yours - I would know yours.

The memory of these three young artists, Dom, Dave and Angi, helped me find my way into a poem. And at middle age they are still painting, having grown into their own styles and expertise. Elizabeth Warren wrote something so perfect about how we see ourselves as Americans. She said no matter how successful we are, we didn't get there alone. That we used what had been around us to help us succeed and that we owe a debt to our country, that we are in this together. She said it better than that and likely you've all read her words.

A year ago I bought some brush paintings by Angi. I've been wanting to change my home atmosphere to something more reflective of who I am today. They are not yet framed but my ideas are coming together and I'm hiring someone to paint the walls first, after years of thinking "I'll get to it soon." So it occurs to me that it's long overdue that I share these three artists with you! Take a look at their lovely work - maybe I'll be connecting new friends to them. Maybe you'll be inspired by them, or even want to hang a piece of theirs in your house, too. Here they are: