The Tribute Show

As usual, when I heard there was going to be a tribute to musicians show, I said, "Well, that's one I won't be doing." As usual, Susan rolled her eyes, smiled, and got on with her work. As usual, my competitive spirit came charging in, yelling," Of course you can, you wimp! Don't you have a brain in your head?"  I responded to said spirit with, " Well, I love Mozart, but.... OK, leave it with me."

That's what I love about being a Fabulon resident artist. I am kicked out of inertia frequently, and challenged to dig deep until a flickering idea begins to grow. I know myself well enough not to panic. I go into a quiet, reflective state that lasts for days or even weeks as I make connections between my thoughts until a coherent idea begins to emerge. When I start a piece, it is a mess! No careful drawing of a preconceived image. Oh no! Charcoal flies, fingers push it all over the surface, or I begin with paint trickling all over the place until it suggests a mood and images. To others, nothing is there. But it is. I can see it, all I have to do is make sense of it so I let it take me wherever it wants to go.

That's how it was with this show. While I confess to being a "Voice" addict, and feel on friendly terms with Adam and Blake, that is hardly my world. Instead, I revisited the music of my youth. I was 16 in 1960-wow! And in Britain! Wow again! It was our world! No more wearing clothes like our parents, Mary Quant saved us! There was Biba, the coolest shop ever in London. I bought a pair of pink suede over-the-knee-boots and thought I was ready for Vogue! Vidal Sassoon dispensed with curlers and permanents "and our hair swung free and shiny in angled cuts. But best of all was the Fab Four-Paul, John, George, and Ringo. The Beatles! And they were our local band that became famous!

Reading their lyrics, I realized how much I had missed at 16. They wrote of sorrow, humor, injustice. I had thought it was all romantic "love, love, love." 57 years later, I began with Eleanor Rigby and was unnerved to find I recognized her. "The face in the jar by the door." It didn't seem ludicrous. More like familiar. What was her story? And Father McKenzie? Oh yes, I knew him too. The anguish, and relevance to today's world, of "Blackbird" was almost too much, and "The Long and Winding Road" had me in tears. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" saved the day! It is not about LSD. Lucy was a pre-school friend of John's son who brought home a painting of her. A sweet, simple moment that sparked the song. Poignantly, in my painting I pictured not myself but our sweet dog in the boat (which I made a Welsh coracle). She died during this time. My grandchildren are also in there, two on rocking horses, and one is Lucy with kaleidoscope eyes.

Perhaps the most moving aspect of my thinking about the Beatles is the connection with one of the dearest people I ever met, Rob Simpson, a fellow Brit, who passed away this year. Those who knew him cannot think of the Beatles without thinking about Rob, maybe their greatest fan. We asked him if he and his friends would be willing to play at our daughter and son-in-law's wedding. They were brilliant! Rob sang all night, and then stayed for an extra hour because nobody wanted them to stop. Rob was a star. So my body of work became an unexpected tribute to him, and his smile, unique hair, and voice kept me company through the struggles of completing four paintings inspired by his Beatles. 

And now I can claim another " first." Guest Blogger!  Who would have imagined?  Being a professional artist is far more than making pretty pictures. Thank you, Susan of Fabulon.

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