She is crowned with a tan domed straw hat as if she is on safari yet sitting there on her front tilt chair she is elegant and poised. Arm straight out reaching for the blank canvas she delicately glides her brush towards the left ever so slowly. To my mind this so painstakingly maddening I want to blurt out- hurry show me what you see! But, she continues to her own beat. The blue-tinged brush leaves a trail, a faith echo of the water several feet in front of her. she dabs the brush in the cup on her easel and adds a muddy brown layer sporadically over sections of the small blue line she has previously made. Her pallet filled with soft calming shades of color she dips a new smaller brush into the paint this time mixing a small amount of white with silver and reaches up higher on the canvas creating the heavens where a tan obelisk is pointing. Again she dabs her brush this time laying out a foundation to where blossoms will sit on the long slender branches of the tree in preparation for the upcoming weeks work.
I am so curious about the time that she has spent on the quarter filled canvas that I argue with myself on whether I should strike up a conversation with her or leave her to her solitude. After being silent for so long, I quietly ask her if it's okay to take a picture of her and her canvas; hoping this will get her talking. I know that people like to be left alone but I also know that artists of any kind usually love to talk about their work and so with that one question she answers my wish. In her original straight armed brush to canvas movement she poses for my camera.
Seven years she has come back to this same exact spot to immortalize the view that permeates her sight. For the past two days her gaze has been filled with the obelisk, the water and the tiny rosy buds fighting to burst through into popped corn blooms. Down the path a few trees have already burst and their candy sweet perfume permeates the air. I am green with envy that she will be able to observe next week all the trees showing pink tinged sugary petals dancing in their spring jubilee. A second thought of envy encroaches on my heart, she truly will be engulfed with an overpowering gift from God: the power to be in the moment of reflecting on God's beautiful creation: the famous D.C. japanese cherry blossoms.
I am thankful for her generosity to share her story and after our conversation is over. I apologize for bothering her yet also thanking her for her kindness of answering my questions. At our parting she hands me a business card saying she will be updating her website each day with the progress she has made on the painting if I would care to follow along. I am touched that she would share and that I will be able to watch her talent show up on the canvas more than just this once. I eagerly accept the card and wander off onto the path around the lake. I pick a bench with a view of this painter appropriately named Michela the female form of a great artist Michelangelo and settle myself down to write about my experience.
Yes, I know I am an interesting tourist; alway camera in hand like any other but also a notebook, pen, pencil/eraser, eye glasses and reading book tucked away in my largestylish cotton candy pink petaled purse bought just for the purpose of transporting these precious items. Always a book in possession, always finding quiet places tucked away to read and experience the surrounding life of that one new area that breathes to me.
When I set out this morning. My destination was the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial to spend my time on a rock surrounded by the waterfalls and the forestry illusion created there. After meeting Michela and taking time to write my experience while it was fresh in my spiritual mind. I finally approach the intended destination and was smacked with the unfathomable fact that there was not a single droplet producing the raging roar of the previous days exploration. The waterfalls it seemed were turned off and to make matters worse there were crowds, I mean large crowds of tourists wandering around my place of solitude.
There was no way that I was going to be able to shut out that many people and just be in the moment! I realized that I had already had my amazing and inspirational moment already today and hightailed it out back to the waters edge and that same bench where Michela painted nearby. I eased out of my newly purchased walking shoes stretched out on the bench and read to my little hearts content disappearing into the story of an Opera singer, a Japanese business man, a Vice President and a terrorist takeover.
- What I gleaned from my inspired moment was that Happiness is where ever you decide to find it and here in the capital of our nation (amongst polititians who love to argue,) today happiness was at the West Potomac Tidal Basin.
*If anyone would like to follow along on Michela's progress here is her blog: http://mansuino.artspan.com/blog/
*added 3/20/2012 appropriately the first day of Spring.