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Les Accessories

So here’s a day when so much has happened! Most importantly, I had my first meeting with my mentor, artist John Ross Palmer. We decided to paint together, which was great fun, and we made a collaboration piece (above). The painting is for sale, with both our signatures on it, and costs $90 if you’re interested.

The lesson of the day for me, as an artist, is still slowly sinking in. One thing I want to learn from John is how to strike the right balance between the merely suggested and the neatly detailed elements of a painting. It’s something that he does extremely well in his art, and which I admire greatly. His advice to me: paint a lot, and it will come. I guess it has to do with what my date and I were talking about the other night too: How do you know when something is done? In both art and love it can, at times, be difficult to tell, yet overdoing it, in both, can be as bad, if not worse, than leaving things unfinished. Maybe Coco Chanel was on to something: The last accessory you’ve put on to complete an outfit is too much. Take it off. The final line you wish to add (I was dying for one more contour to that woman scrambling through her closet), don’t draw it. That last letter you wish to send your former lover, don’t send it. Less is more. Or is it? Do some affairs require a final song, some outfits a flower pinned to a lapel, some paintings a few extra touches?

And to add more complexity to a life full of such decisions, here’s one more: Do you buy a house for its magic? Do you buy it because it’s close to the beach and has its original ceilings? Do you buy it because you love the green leaves of palm trees as seen through its windows, its claw-foot bathtub, and the crown molding in the room with the chandelier? Do you buy it because its ghosts speak to you? Do you buy it because you can?

Or do you try to still the questions in your mind, all questions about art and love and houses, and go see your paintings hanging at the new location of Kitchen Chick, then go to a party at Maceo’s, go for a long walk with your friend and peek inside the old Customs House, only to end up later in front of the house with the chandelier in the dark wondering about the same old things, wondering if maybe its ghosts and yours might enjoy a playdate as you soak in the claw foot tub and try to wash away all your angst and your worries?