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>Lunch with my mentor, Hazel

Since Hazel King, 90, my mentor and teacher, was unable to come to my reception, I decided to treat her to lunch at the restaurant that is showing my work, The Mad Platter in Nashville.  She was tickeled pink to join me, and I suspect doesn’t get out often other than to teach and to dance (still!)

I was actually nervous (something that I rarely get) when we entered, wondering if she’d like my work or find fault with every piece.  Thankfully, she was gracious, enthusiastic, and even if she wasn’t crazy about my paintings, she kept it to herself.  It was a very late lunch and I followed her through the (mercifully near empty) restaurant as she inspected each painting, large and small.  She’d squeal “ooh!  This is good!” at one, and then, “you are very brave” at another.  After reviewing most all of them, we took our seats and dined on a great lunch that the owner generously and unexpected provided gratis.

Miss Hazel was a hoot!  I’ve got to say!  She was so cute and complimentary with the waitress, folks at the next table, and of course, me.  She kept saying “You are very brave to have tackeled all this!” and “I can’t believe you painted all this!”  A few of the things she said rang like music in my ears too:  “You will go far with this,” and “You really have what it takes,” and “You paint like noone else — and that’s a GOOD thing.” 

I don’t know how much of what she said was sincere and how much was flattery and appreciation for breaking her free from the confines of her daily routine for the day.  No matter.  To me, it was a day to remember and relish.  Long after she is gone (which, God willing, won’t be anytime soon), I’ll remember this special day and all of the pearls of wisdom she imparted to me today and along this journey. 

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>Where everyone knows your name!

>Or, at the very least, your beloved, 90-year-old painting teacher…  Tuesday the Art Center offered a “freebie” class session, just to ensure we shake off the cobwebs and flex our right-bring, etc. etc.

It was great to see those who made it in, and we of course shared our flood experiences.  But the day held special significance for me since it was the very first time Hazel remembered my name.  Bear in mind, she’s 90, has taught hundreds of folks through the years.  I was deeply flattered that I was important enough for her to take the time to know my name, as used as I was to “you there!” and “that girl” and such from sessions past.

And even more flattering was the acknowledgment by her that I really “have something!”  As I said, she’s mentored many incredible talents over the years.  I am not confident enough to believe I have really reached their level.  Rather, I think she was pleased to see the revised flyer I gave her promoting my show which included digital thumbnails of several of my paintings.   Between you and me, I think the digital reproductions can be far more attractive than the real image, especially when tweaked in Photoshop…  but I’ll take her praise all the same.