>I was in one of those moods. The dogs knew it and stayed out of my way. With out-of-town family arriving that night and a long-lost cousin joining us for dinner the next, and sandwiched in between a possible career-making meeting, I was dreading the next 48 hours. So much to do! Still, I wasn’t about to give up my sanity-restoring opportunity to paint with my friends.
And so it was — like facing the waves, taking in the fresh sea air and breathing deeply with the cool blue surf’s waves kissing one’s bare toes helping to forget the here and now. As agreed, our painting foursome met Tuesday for our third “private” painting session and as this journal’s title hints, we were hosted by our resident Southern Belle, Lynne. With one of those melodic gentle voices with a honey-sweet drawl and ever-present smile, to know Lynne is to be in the presence of sunshine and honey, and all things sweet and pleasant. Really.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’ve never been to her home before and she is very modest, but as I drove through the gracious old-South charm of Belle Meade, the palatial homes, verdant and sprawling country club and well-kept lawns set the tone. And pulling into her place, I wasn’t disappointed… Lynne’s home is a lovely breezy affair with a huge deck (alas, it was way too warm to paint out there) and maze-like interior that winds its way through wall after wall of Lynne-produced whimsical and serious art. A huge bookcase in the dining room belies the secrets to her success and her genius: years of practice and study. I regret I didn’t take more photos, but, with an abbreviated day on my part, we didn’t waste too long looking around before settling in to the important task of painting at her dining room table, the deck’s sunlight pleasantly spilling into the room and occasional barking by her little dog bringing us occasionally back to the here and now.
Margot worked on a lovely stone structure she’d photographed while on her trip to Turkey a short while back. Lynne, amid hosting duties, worked on a beautiful landscape as Lucilla and I tooled around painting flowers.
At lunch time, Lynne laid out a truly gracious Southern style luncheon complete with shrimp salad, tiny champagne grapes, cheese crackers, and more. All on fine china with a dainty rose centerpiece (which I couldn’t resist painting it was so lovely). As we dined an painted, it struck me how cherished these women are to me. True sisters. An idea that was affixed permanently in each of our minds when, early on in the day, Lucilla presented each of us with a lovely ceramic “painting” of green leaves on a bone background. She explained that they had been a gift to her years ago and she had no use for them now and wanted us each to have one. I was so touched and it now hangs in a special place of honor in our front room.
It is hard to believe I have known these women for such a short time and yet feel so deeply for them, and cherish them so much! I can’t explain it, but perhaps working together on our art, we feel safe enough to share our vulnerabilities. They sure know about my dramas! And as we learn more about one another, I think we each feel more protective of one another. Like family, wanting the best for our loved ones.
All I know is I feel truly blessed to know these dear, sweet souls and think that as much as I grow in my painting ability in their presence, I grow as a person too. We have plans to strengthen our alliance in a more formal way. I hope we can bring our plans to fruition and will do what I can to ensure it happens!