You never know what’s going to happen in the San Luis Valley (or anywhere else). The year I moved here, I joined an art coop. This led to the fierce enmity of a local artist. She verbally attacked me twice in public and then scraped some of my painting off the window of the coop. She wasn’t even a member. She just didn’t want anyone but her painting windows. That is her claim to fame here in the San Luis Valley.
It was a nightmare for me because I hadn’t done anything to her and it kept happening.
I arrived at the museum just as she had finished putting up her work and had gotten into her car. I got out of Bella. The woman turned off the engine and got out of her car. “Can I help you haul stuff in?”
“Sure,” I said. I needed help. She’s also tall and I’m so short that it’s a little tricky for me to wrestle the boxes that hold each of my paintings up the stairs. Seriously. Between us we got everything inside. Then she said, “I’d stay to help you but you might be like me. You might want to do the hanging yourself so you can really think about it. I like to really think about where I put my paintings.” She had four, one of which took my breath away and I told her so. “I don’t even like people around me when I’m painting,” she said. “It’s kind of meditation for me.”
“Me too, ” I agreed. “Drawing is really meditation.”
“I love to paint,” she went on, “get into the zone and let the whole thing happen.” We talked about about our painting processes.
“You know, when I retired I only wanted two things,” I told her. “I wanted to do whatever I wanted, and I wanted to be nice to people…” I was going to say, “no more arguing with students over grades, just being myself.” She interrupted me and said,
“I guess I made that hard for you.”
Oh my god, I thought, she’s still thinking about that. We’ve been in the same place at the same time a lot since those days seven years ago!
“It’s OK,” I told her.
“I was really not OK back then. I was really messed up. I’m just so sorry.”
“It’s OK,” said again. “I’ve been really messed up, too. I get it.” I spread my arms for a hug and she fell into them. I could feel her relief.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, again. Then she got in her car and drove away.
Inside I looked around at “my” space. I have a whole large room just for my paintings. I got my work up and set up a little table for cards and tree ornaments. I forgot to take a photo of the show once I got it hung. I guess that will give me something to write about after the opening on Saturday. I had all the help I needed, too. ❤️🎨
Here’s how it started, though…