Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Find: Oil Paintings

 I bought this miniature painted wood-and-leather chair from Pier 1 years and years ago.

It has a new buddy, as of this past weekend.

Behind the miniature chair is an oil painting by Stacey Heaver, a talented local artist who also is a trainer at my gym.

Months ago, she exhibited this painting at the gym, and I fell in love with it. But it was a little pricey, so I put it out of my mind. Except I couldn't forget the dramatic, stormy sky filled with steel-blue clouds.

So a few days back, I screwed up my courage and asked her if there was a little wiggle room on the price. Turns out, she gave me a LOT of wiggle room! And now this landscape with the roiling clouds keeps me company when I sit at my laptop.

It reminds me of storms during my childhood in Kansas, although the trees look more like the eucalyptus trees that grow in Los Angeles. I can almost hear them hissing in the restless, cold air.

Two days after I bought this painting, another one fell into my lap.

Last Sunday, I was walking one of my pugs when I stopped to chat with a neighbor having a garage sale. I know her only a little bit. She is another local artist, newly divorced, and she's moving out of the area. She and her young daughter are beginning over again in a seaside art colony. She is selling almost everything she owns to fund the move. She has lovely taste, and I'd already bought some of her blue-and-white china a few garage sales ago. 

I told her I wished I could buy a bit more of her beautiful things, if only to put a few more dollars in her pocket. She deserves that, I said. But The Hubby and I are still smarting from the recent vandalism/theft on Lovely Daughter #2's car, and I couldn't justify buying any more goodies.

I guess she caught me gazing fondly at this painting:

On impulse, she picked it up and pressed it into my hands. She said she bought it at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, and she wanted me to have it. I nearly cried; she has lost her marriage, her house, and almost all her lovely things, yet she's urging me to take something from her.

I thanked her. She thanked me. I walked away with the painting tucked under my arm, stunned at the goodness and strength and clarity of purpose some people have.

"It's only stuff," she said.

And she's right. Everything important is moving to her new town with her--her dignity, her resolve, her aspirations, her sense of worth, and her beautiful daughter.

Now every time I look at these two landscapes, I think of the two women behind them, and how generous they were.

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