When I first started out in Interior Design, I worked with a lovely woman named Odette. She loved everything French, excelled in the arts, and I considered her among my first ‘grown-up’ friends. We went to art shows at the Norton, visited French cafes in Delray, and got excited about color combinations and her new home decor selections. When I moved to Bolivia, she sent gorgeous French-made cards, and we visited whenever I made it back to the States. When the Great Recession hit, we emailed back and forth about how nervous we were about our beloved industry. Shortly after that, my sweet friend was involved in an automobile accident, and lost her life.
Five years ago, I moved back to South Florida, and I miss my friend often. She would have been the first to go to my art shows, and would have given me sound advice about my paintings. Over the summer, I came across an art book Odette had given me: a book about her favorite Fauvist artist, Raoul Dufy. In her inscription, she wrote:
I had recently started trying out mixed media, specifically ephemera and collage, so I decided to used the pages of the book Odette had given to me. Since then, I have completed several works, and I feel like she has inspired my art for the better. The use of ephemera adds an element of history and time to each piece, which is the underlying element behind most of my art.
I tend to paint mermaids or women floating underwater – and often there are symbolic elements such as masks, flowers, or pearls/jewelry floating around an ethereal woman. The only people we truly know in this life is ourselves – we all have insecurities and secrets we hide, and our physical bodies are just a glimpse of the person we are inside. Sometimes, we get to know other souls on a deeper level, and we are lucky when we find people we connect with.
Lately, I’ve found myself perusing used book stores for old texts, yellowed pages, and interesting illustrations. Old black and white photos now hold a deeper meaning, and I’d love to get my hands on old postcards with cursive writing. Little did I know how much a sweet gesture would mean to me all these years later. There are so many stories waiting to be told and mysteries to be solved about the past, and mixed media is a natural medium for my need to be an artistic storyteller. I just needed a little inspiration from a long lost friend.