HAS ANYONE SEEN A BUTTERFLY?
“Has anyone seen a butterfly?” G would ask when the conversation went awry. What DO you do when the conversation goes funny – I guess a butterfly is so positive, everything turns around.
I once had a large collection of marvelous butterfly specimens. I think of them with great fondness, and sometimes wish I still had them. They are not, however, part of a clutter-free life, because there is nothing quite so “cluttery” as a butterfly. Not that I have a clutter-free life. But I realized when we stayed in Villefranche-sur-Mer in an uncluttered apartment it was easier to calm down and feel relaxed.
On the contrary, few people lead a more cluttered life than Blair and me. We have hundreds of paintings and props – I have been bringing them to the office with the intention of painting still-lives with my Wednesday student. My ukulele (that I only play in the winter), masses of flowers, oriental carpets, vases, colorful tickets, hats, candles: all contribute to inspiration.
I still have all the printing plates I made of my butterflies, so I’ve been making butterfly prints this week, putting spring on the wing. They are light and joyous, and each time I produce a new work I feel very happy. I put light bright colors on the background and print the Lepidoptera in gold.
We are still painting outdoors, too. Blair had one hour to create a double portrait for a couple getting engaged near the Eiffel Tower on Thursday. He painted in the background from Trocadero the day before. Our client had the idea to suggest to his girlfriend “wouldn’t it be nice if we were in the picture?”. What he didn’t count on was the 32 degree temperature – “stand here in this cold, darling?” But the plan went off without a glitch.
When the to-be-betrothed bride saw the ring in the picture, he dropped to his knees, took the velvet box from his pocket and she said, YES! It was extraordinarily romantic.
We’re spending much time at the shop – we’ve sold two paintings in these last two weeks there. Being at the gallery is about waiting, but not looking like one is waiting. I try to keep busy, but have one eye peeled for the window, when I see someone I smile, and if it looks positive, I encourage them to come in.
Harika is a foil to all this, because she barks each time someone looks in the window or approaches the door. “She’s saying welcome,” I tell people, but somehow her hairy black mass and screeching voice are not soothing. She is the antithesis of a butterfly, and has to stay home a lot.
But if conditions are right, people come in and we have lovely conversation and sometimes a sale, over a butterfly.