Monday, November 5, 2007


Although I am the same child who sat in front of the Dallas museum for three hours rather than be dragged though it for the same length of time, I now believe that it is no coincidence that when I learned that I had a choice in matters of study in college, I elected to abandon the international business angle that had gotten me in and turned without hesitation to the study of art. Of course this choice had something to do with the budding relationship I was enjoying with my mentor, but that is another story and a different angle on the same thing.

If I can now claim that I have a love for art, it was not born from but was nutured by Lynda, recognized by the two of us as a common interest that developed into a lifelong dialogue, with a vocabulary shared through countless discussions and reviews.

Lynda, began her career as an artist as many artists do; collecting and admiring the works of the masters, but in a most unusual way. Over her dresser, still, to the right of the heavy cut glass mirror, hangs a tiny colored photograph of a large old white frame house, surrounded by trees and vegetation. It is printed on textured paper that resembles canvas, and the intent is clearly create a painting from a black and white photograph.

What makes it remarkable is not the subject, though there is doubtless irony to be made from more thought on the subject, but the object itself, for it was in fact the reward for winning a contest when Lynda was in grade school. My recollection is that she was in sixth grade, but I have always asked her and promptly forgotten the many of those questions have I left to discover?

The teacher announced the contest early in the year, and it so caught my mother's attention that it led to one of the most crucial moments of her life; alearning experience about herself, her mother and her love of art. The contest was simple enough; students were to cut out and collect pictures of art that they liked from magazines and turn them in as a portfolio at the end of the year. The prize was to be a painting. Lynda was already interested in art, and had been admiring the pictures re-printed in the Saturday Evening Post. When the weekly magazine was discarded by the adults, Lynda picked it up and read it cover to cover, of course, but also clipped out the weekly painting, mounted it with glue on construction paper and put it in a book. At the end of the year, hse had collected dozens of pictures, all neatly packaged in a portfolio. She turned it in and was most excited. Eventually, it was revealed that Lynda was the only student to turn in a project, but the teacher told her that because she was the only entrant, she couldn't really 'win'!

This upset her, of course, but not nearly so much as it did her mother, who went to the school and raised such a fuss that the school capitulated. Instead of the promised presentation during a school assembly, it was simply given to her in the principal's office, and the feeling of being passed over was one she learned to internalize for the first of many, many times in her life. Nonetheless, she was proud of her award, proud of her mother, and so proud of her collection that she saved it, and gave it to me. I will also inherit the prize 'painting' and something much greater; her love of art.

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