Betty's drafting table

Up at 4 am to get Tom to the airport.  Too early to stop at Betty’s on the way back so I returned home, loaded my car with boxes and bags, paid a few bills and did a quick painting based on one I did yesterday.  Then I headed to Betty’s to pick up all of the paintings that would be left behind if I didn’t.  I hadn’t foreseen this.  When Betty gave me my choice of paintings I was overwhelmed.  Now I am the caretaker of over sixty framed paintings and hundreds of unframed paintings.  Had I not accepted this responsibility the paintings would have been left behind for the clean-up crew to dispose of.  I could not bear the thought of her sketchbooks, her paintings, her explorations and her prize-winning paintings to end up in a dumpster.  I am feeling rather numb.

As I left the highway and headed up the hill toward my home, car packed to bursting with art, the clouds distracted me from my emotional distress.  As far as the eye could see, a band of cumulus clouds as I’ve never seen before paraded across the sky casting deep, striking shadows against themselves.  As I unloaded the car the wind whirled around me as if it wanted to whisk away the past to make room for the future.  It was a bit frustrating. I couldn’t prop the door open to carry in the multitude of paintings.  Each time I tried, the wind slammed the wooden door and threatened to break the hinges on the screen door.  I had to carry, put down, open the door, pick up, prop with my hip and fumble through the small opening.  Eventually the task was done.

It is now 8 pm and the sun is screaming yellow, unusual brilliance for a setting sun.  The landscape is drenched in bright yellow light and I don’t know what to make of it. The sky is brilliant blue as if the day is refusing to end.  There is a sense of change, major change, in the air.

I am in awe of the number of paintings, of studies, of trials and errors that I have seen today.  There are so many sides of Betty that are new to me.  She hardly ever put people in her paintings yet I have boxes of attempts at painting people.  Betty never painted fast, yet the little note she wrote to herself and tacked to her drafting table says “It doesn’t matter any more how the paintings turn out.  Just paint, and paint FAST!”

Betty’s drafting table has found a new home in the corner of our Florida Room.  Eventually it will find its way downstairs to my studio.  For now, it will be my work table as I recover from surgery.  I’m getting a new hip on June 21st.  Funny how life has a knack at perfect timing.  I would not have been able to give Betty’s paintings a safe place to rest if her children had scheduled the move two weeks later.  Her son and daughter have had no time to deal with anything other than the bare necessities.

Wow….. the sun just fell below the horizon.  All of the yellow drained from the landscape and it is simply green through my window.

I’m thinking that I might shift to only drawing and painting in sketchbooks when I reach the age of 75.  I’ve already started giving older paintings away so that my children are not left with an overwhelming amount of art.

I think it is good that I have the house to myself tonight.