Ideas for my artwork come to me fairly easily. It’s the development of those ideas to fruition, the follow-through to resolve and finish that is the challenge. I’ve learned to stay open to all kinds of inspiration to bring whole projects and individual artworks to completion. I’ve been fortunate to have many good influences.
I want to share the impact of one person who not only inspired the realization of a few paintings, but who also showed me how it is possible to mature and stay young at heart and mind.
Fireball Triptych ©2018 Barbara Grant
A few years ago when I was visiting my friend Flo, she asked what I was working on. I told her a triptych of sunsets that needed to be stitched together. She wanted to know what color thread I was going to use, because she had some left over from the crewelwork pillowcase she created to match her new carpeting – Fireball Red! It was perfect. I call this painting “Fireball Triptych”.
I found another use for this thread as I was using my “Three Figures” group in a painting to quote Shakespeare:
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more...
Staged ©2019 Barbara Grant
In the autumn of 2020, Flo called and asked with urgency in her voice, “Do you still have that painting with the Shakespeare quote?!” Yes, it was still available. “How much? I’ll send you a check tomorrow!” It was a gift for one of her three sons who had seen a photo of it and expressed interest. I wonder if she told him that the thread winding through it was her gift and inspiration for me.
Over the years I listened and learned about her background, Jewish traditions, education, two wonderful marriages, children, grandchildren, work and community activities, and her passion for the arts (I swear she must have had season tickets to most of Milwaukee’s theaters!). She wanted to know about my life, too, and enjoyed times my husband could join our company. If my grandchildren visited, I made sure they had the opportunity to meet Flo, because she had become such a positive mentor to me.
The Recent calls on my phone list Flo’s name on January 7th, the last time we connected. I haven’t deleted it yet. It was nine days later that my friend died peacefully in her sleep. Not of Covid. But because of Covid, I wonder how many people hold on to little pieces of memory this way. Hanging on by a thread…
This is an abridged version of my original blog. You can read more about my awesome friend Flo and her positive influence in my post: "Flo Saw Horses" at StraddleTheTurtle.com.