On March 11, 2004 I landed in Porto, Portugal an hour before the bomb exploded on a train in Madrid.  Unaware of the tragedy, I rented a car and drove north to meet my daughter, Nicole.  Our original plan had been for me to meet her in Madrid.  She was to take the train from Portugal to Madrid.

Gaudi’s Mosaic Dragon Souvenir, Parc Guell Barcelona, Spain

We drove across northern Spain through Dali landscapes of pinnacles and sharp shadows.  Black flags hung from windows in every town and city, mourning the deaths of the victims on the train.  Two days later we arrived in Barcelona to explore Gaudi’s architectural wonders and to drown ourselves in the art galleries.  It was in Barcelona that we discovered Vieira da Silva, a Portuguese painter who has become a strong influence in my work.

Nicole bought this little dragon for her sister, but I am the lucky caretaker.

The stories told in America were quite different from the stories told in Portugal and Spain.

Dragon Drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filled with Rohrer & Klingnerj Alt Goldgun ink followed by watercolor … followed by fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink.

A lone, petunia seed found its way into a package of zinnia seeds.

A petunia thinking it’s a zinnia

When the flowers began to bloom I was startled by the odd petunia in my flower bed of zinnia.  It has grown tall and strong among its peers, perhaps, as the swan thought itself to be a duckling, the petunia thinks it’s a zinnia.  Never have a seen a petunia grow so tall and upright.

I am reminded of the inspiration and standards set for me by my fellow artists and the significant mentors in my life.  I am so much stronger thanks to the example they set for me.