One of the things that happens to me a lot is that I get ahead of myself. I get a thought and I go with it and then it brings on all these other thoughts, and before I know it I have lost sight of the original thought. This happened to me yesterday as I went looking for a piece of art that I own that was made by an artist by the name of Rose Johnson. Sadly, Rose died a few days ago, and very tragically. (Here is a link...) I didn't know Rose very well. She was someone who moved to Bisbee, Arizona, where I used to live with my husband (and where we were married) towards the end of our living there. I would see her every now and then...just like everyone, but a friendship never really came to be. Just ran in different circles I guess. I lived in Bisbee for three years, and one of the things I think is so interesting about my time there is that I rarely painted. I set up a room as a studio like I always do, but I barely glanced at it. And Bisbee is a happening arts place, too. Maybe I was intimidated by it? I don't know. I did do a lot of Theatre there. I also taught Theatre at the local community college with my dad. And I do know that for some reason, in my life, Theatre and Art just don't seem to mix. I can't ever seem to manage to do both at the same time.
When we got married we had this awesome wedding. It was completely on a shoestring and the reception was in the hallway of the old grade school that was now used for artist studios. For all I know, Rose had a studio there. I'm not really sure. She was the girlfriend of this guy we knew...and now it escapes my memory as to why we knew him. I guess, he too, was just another local that everyone got to know there. My husband managed a coffee shop there for quite awhile...a lot of people come and go in coffee shops. I don't remember Rose being there at the wedding, but she could have been. She was always just this really kind person that was somehow in the background of my life. And she was a wonderful artist. Only, I don't think I realized that until she gave us this small little piece that was matted. And that is what I was looking for yesterday. It's about 5"x7", and every time I run across it tucked safely into one of my many boxes of things I want to keep, I think I need to frame it. I'm sure that's the last thought I had about it. And I'm sure it's somewhere or another around here. But my going to look for something like that in one of my boxes....well....
It took me down a different road. I realized that my entire life is boxed up in about two or three boxes. Makes me think of that line from that Sugarland song. (And Sugarland is probably the only country band I've ever actually listened to, btw) "Pictures, dishes and socks It's our whole life down to one box."
In the boxes were letters that my pen pal from being a little girl were still tied up with string. I'm always wondering what happened to that girl. And letters and cards, and clippings of shows, and stuff that was supposed to go into scrap books I suppose. A lot of it isn't necessary to keep anymore...but with each looking into that box, new things go, and old things stay. I found a drawing that I did just a few years ago. I would have sworn that I sold that drawing. And I "remember" who I sold it to. I've used it often as a profile pic on blogs and such, and have lamented the fact that I sold it without getting a good picture of it. And there it was, tucked inside of an envelope with and xray of my hand from when I broke my hand. I guess it's good proof that I am getting older and with age comes memory loss. Selective and otherwise. I was happy for the finds. It gave me answers to ideas for paintings that I've had, and new ideas as well...all those little pieces of paper with old poems, and scribbles have their place in my now, if I let them. I also found several pieces of art that were given to me by another artist, who is also now dead. A girl I barely knew (but I knew her husband) and for some reason sent me many letters that had photo copied pieces of art work she had done in them. She was an amazing artist, and a troubled soul who committed suicide. I never knew then why she singled me out to send stuff to, and I still wonder. She wrote me completely out of the blue and introduced herself via a letter. Perhaps there is something in this that I am missing? Perhaps fellow artists recognize each other better than others, or want to make that connection? I know I feel that now but am not sure how to connect to some people. You feel a kinship, but are shy to say so. If I put myself back in the time period of when Laura and Rose would have given me their art work, I can safely say that not only was I in a fog in general, but I was definitely not "mature" enough to recognize the hand reaching out.
I didn't find the painting that Rose gave us for our wedding. I suppose it will require and even deeper search, and I thought I had hit everything pretty hard. But I know I still have it. I can see it in my minds eye. It was of a woman....I'll post it here when I can find it. In the mean time, I want to thank her. With everything there is that "chain reaction"...and with looking for her artwork, I discovered something new and more about myself. Even though I knew in the back of my mind it was all hidden in those boxes...well, you just have to open up sometimes and look in...you know?
She was such a lovely woman...an incredible artist. One of those people that you can visualize walking around...rather ethereal.
Please take a moment to look at her art. I think that is what any artist would want, isn't it?