Monday, March 30, 2015

Pastels to Oils via Tie Dye

Pastels to Oils via Tie Dye
Brenda Ferguson (1959-2015) painting pastels at Spruce Harbor, Maine 
on August 24, 2010 wearing her traditional tie-die at a time in her career 
when she was transitioning from pastels to oils, sketched on March 29, 2015.
7" x 5", Winsor & Newton and Holbein watercolors, and
Uniball waterproof fade proof ink on 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico
cold press fine grain 100% cotton watercolor paper.
Also on Brenda Ferguson's blog HERE, A Color Full Life
with portraits by other artists.
The Blues
by Bruce McMillan 

I left Brenda's celebration of life,
we don't call these gathering funerals anymore do we,
as one of hundreds with heavy hearts
humming the closing tune,
this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine;
this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.
Brenda had painted her last painting.
Her favorite color was yellow
but many of us were feeling the blues.
On the ride south serendipity reminded me
that the art museum at Colby College was open.
I'd yet to see it. It was an art opportunity,
an apt follow up to the farewell artist Bren celebration.
Colby College was a ghost campus, spring break.
The museum was full of art, almost empty of people,
security guards sauntering through as performance art.
I ambled through, so many great works, such inspiration,
noting a little known Georgia O'Keeffe, Pink Daisy with Iris,
one of Brenda's favorite artists.
My spirits lifted when I passed by Alex Katz's
enormous yellow petal flowers.
After so many paintings, so much fine art,
my mind strayed back to the note that was
found on Brenda's table after she was gone,
her last handwritten words, such clear strong penmanship.
"Look around you. Look up … Be kind. Be light. Be happy."
I looked up at the blues, soft cool light shining down
from today's overcast sky onto the staircase.
I hummed
this little light of mine, I'm going to make it shine;
this little light of mine, I'm going to make it shine,
as I ascended the staircase.
I stopped to buy some books.
I wanted to remember this time
and to learn more about how
Eight Begin, Artist's Memories of Starting Out,
while thinking about how another artist, Bren,
had finished her art journey.
I wanted to see and read more about Bernard Langlais,
a Maine artist with the same artistic whimsy of Brenda,
both whose animals were unlike any others.
The clerk asked how I was going to pay for the books
I replied, "A credit card of course."
She smiled and said, "This is your lucky day.
We're changing our processing system and so
the books are a gift, no charge."
Astonished, I was almost speechless,
barely muttering, "Really?"
Before I turned on the ignition in my car
I picked up Brenda's celebration program.
I read Brenda's final note, her last handwritten words.

"And have a wonderful life. All is well. All is well."
Brenda's story was a book that I didn't want to see end.
And it had. And I cried.

poem © 2015 Bruce McMillan
not for reuse without permission

 The Gifts from the Colby College Art Museum 
(see the poem above) 

Bernard Langlais on amazon HERE
and Eight Begin on amazon HERE
with Colby College of Art museum security clerk Sheri LaVerdiere

The Colby College Art Museum web site is HERE 

I'll never forget it. -Bruce

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