The Wondrous Dance of it All
Over the three weeks following that message, I met Valerie for the first time, and then said goodbye for the last time. The incredible artist Valerie Thomson passed away in her own home yesterday.
She was a fount of knowledge, sharing her passion for plastic-free art and environmentally-gentle packing materials, paints, substrates (and even tape!) with anyone who was curious. And she painted like the muse was in her own two hands. Her entire home was her studio - no space was left for anything other than art and the creating of it. She collected art from around the world (including many of mine) and sold her paintings around the globe.
During the last visit, I asked her what she wanted the world to know. She said, without hesitation, "there is always room for more kindness." And then she proceeded to give away her entire studio of art supplies and her entire collection of art. To me and to others who responded to her messages. This amazing woman, who had been reclusive and hermit-like for the last decade, found herself in tears over the people who said "YES!" and rushed over to meet her and help in any way possible. And there I was, on the end of her bed, crying with her. Over bagels with scrambled eggs, just the way she liked them.
My studio is packed from floor to ceiling now. Canvases, boards, oil paints, oil sticks, papers, pigments, brushes and wedges. Including several of her unfinished paintings, of which she said "finish them. Or paint over them. You'll know what to do." It's a daunting thought.
From her diagnosis to her final day was just a few short weeks. Once again, the brevity and fragility of life overwhelms me.
About the art: beginning with an A.I. prompt asking the bot to create a "killer robot samurai dancer in the style of Degas" and the bot's response image below, I created a notan and a notanized grid, sketched the composition onto some Arches oil paper (a new favorite) with colored pencil. Thin washes of oil paint to rough in the shapes and the background, then increasing thicknesses applied with brushes, rubber wedges and paper towels. Veering away from the inspiration image to create my own version of this strange little one. Oh, the wondrous dance of it all...
2/26/2023 02:59:53 am
Oh so sad! I am so aware of the fragility of life, and daily grateful every day for it's special gift! Nothing can be taken for granted. Love your little dancer, absolutely don't understand this "bot" stuff. Is it program that you download. AMAZING! Can't comment on my computer yet still trying, written on my Lenovo!
2/26/2023 03:08:11 pm
Carol....dear friend! You, of all, see the fragility. Big hugs to you (and thanks for continuing to work with whatever the weekly bugs are!)
2/26/2023 11:15:20 am
2/26/2023 03:09:08 pm
Dotty!!! Thank you for seeing the wondrous dancer and having popped eyes! And for receiving the news with your gentle heart. xoxoxoxox
2/26/2023 11:35:46 am
I love love love your image and the direction you took it from the AI prompt. I’m so sorry for her passing. She sounds like she lead a rich life, even in her hermitude. I’m so glad you were there for her in the end. It’s so important to remember to live fully. And you, Lola, are certainly a living example of this!
2/26/2023 03:10:24 pm
Freya!! Thank you! The bot is pushing me further and further. As will Valerie now, with her masterpieces and art collection around me, supplies beckoning and reminding me to live my one wild life to the fullest. xoxoxox
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