Moved to Tears
morning dew, my sister's garden ~ Canon Digital Rebel XT
I wanted to share a very special and sacred moment during my stay last week.
On Mother's Day, my marmie, two sisters and I went to this cute little town up in the Sierra Foothills called Murphy's. It has one main street filled with antique shops, boutiques and cafe's with large trees stretching up above like flying buttresses forming an arch of protection. A few of the shops are old Victorian homes renovated and filled with beautiful things of all sorts.
While the four of us were walking down Main Street, we passed a gallery with tall windows and plants hanging above one of two entrances. Colorful flowers in pots were laced around the doors on the ground. The European flair put a spell on me and I meandered in unbeknownst to my marmie and sisters who continued on ahead to a sweet little shoe store (of course).
I walked thru the gallery slowly as my eyes absorbed the softly colored canvases hung randomly on the walls before me. Most paintings were of ethereal women and children dancing in fields of flowers where the bottom half of their bodies melted into the landscape surrounding them and their facial features were barely there. Something welled up within me. I felt a connection with this artist, whomever they were.
The women in my pastel drawings usually do not have vivid facial features if they have features at all. It has become my own process. For me, when I would add those facial features I felt that the picture could not quite resonate with the many beholding it and have found that without them, it is more of a soul and we all can resonate with the soul of a woman. This might not make sense to anyone else but it just became the sense of my art.
As I turned the corner, I stepped back and gasped, surprised to see a woman behind an easel with brush in hand. She gazed at me with big, brown, kind eyes and greeted me with a warm smile. We began talking and in that conversation, I found that she was the artist of all these beautiful paintings. I shared with her about my faceless pastel art and she told me about her own process of how she came to a place of almost feature-less beauties with her creations:
"I've been a landscape artist all of my life but I struggled with figurative art. I was afraid to draw people because I could never get the features quite right. One day I was standing in front of a large canvas and all was painted but the features on its face. I cried, I wanted to give up and tear up the canvas before me. I was afraid to ruin it. After I walked away from it for awhile, I came back and kneeled before it. I meditated on the thought of no judgement with my process. I took some deep breaths, stood up and just let go. This is how my soft faces were birthed...from a moment of letting go of trying to be how I thought others wanted to see me."
In the moments of her telling me this story, I felt as if I was there. All of her fear turned to peace washed over me and I bit my lip as to hold back my tears. In that moment my marmie came walking in and said..."there you are!". I waved her over to us and introduced her to the artist. As she glanced around at some of the artists greeting cards on a shelf my mom picked one up and said..."Denise, you gave this card to me years ago!"
The card was of a woman with red hair walking through a garden. Her hair was tied up loosely in a bun with flowers strewn into her auburn curls. Her arms were lifted up on each side as if she was about to twirl. She was standing in a garden and the flowers on the ground grew up into a dress that covered the woman's body. Years ago, I stumbled onto this card here in Southern California and fell in love with it. It was my mother in her garden.
My mouth dropped open. I looked at the woman and said..."You painted that picture??". She nodded and I hugged her. It felt so serendipitous that I had been talking to the artist that I had admired from afar years before. The fact that I was standing before her felt more than just a coincidence.
We continued to share our passion for art and learned of a kindredness between us. My mother stood there listening to us and glowing. My other two sisters entered and was introduced to her as well. She asked each of them about their art...Darlene's card business and Pam's flair for interior design. She then asked us all to stand shoulder to shoulder. She became emotional seeing us all together, telling us we were all so beautiful and creative. She was an angel.
We said our goodbyes and continued on to other stores but my heart was welling up and I couldn't focus on much of anything but her. While we were all standing in a small purse shop, I began to feel like the walls were closing in on me. I told them I was going to step outside for some fresh air. So, I did...on a bench under a tree. As soon as I sat down, I wept.
I wept the tears that were welling within me as the artist shared her story of her faces.
I wept the tears that were welling when I felt such a strong connection between us. Oh how I wanted to be with her in a studio, painting together with music, fruit, cheeses, wine and twirling.
My mother found me on the bench a few minutes later and held me. She has always been tender about her emotional daughter and never questions my wellings with any judgement.
I am going to contact that artist soon. I am going to tell her how she has made a huge impact on me and that her beautiful being moved me to tears.
ps. The artist's name is B.R. Garvin. She doesn't have a website. She said when she is ready for one, she will call my husband. This is the only picture I could find of the card I gave my mother. My apologies for the size: