I check in with Facebook. My friend Alexis Adler posted this:
I feel like it’s my own personal Jean-Michel Basquiat Week.
I have to drive my neighbor Zoe Hansson to the nursing home on the morning of Day Eight. Then I have to go to book group.
Zoe has lost much of her sight and can’t drive. We go to the Island Nursing Home every Monday to visit her sister Luanne. Zoe walks with Luanne around the building, helps her eat, makes sure she’s cared for. Sometimes Zoe coaxes a smile from Luanne. Those are good days. Luanne has Alzheimer’s. “I have to be realistic,” says Zoe. I admire the hell out of Zoe.
She asks me if I’ve done my snowman painting yet. Zoe thinks I should paint a snowman. Why not? I think. I’ve painted dancing lobsters on a shingle before.
Zoe is in a good mood today. I’m just dropping her off at the nursing home and then she’s going to lunch with friends at 11. I ask who she’s going with. “Bunzy Sherman,” says Zoe. “How funny,” I say. “My book group is meeting right next to Bunzy’s studio.”
Bunzy is a potter. This island is lousy with artists: potters and painters and blacksmiths, jewelry makers, weavers, knitters. Half the women who come to book group today are artists. Me, Carolyn Walton, a painter, and Mary Howe, a book artist. All DIAA members. All PFAs – people from away. You’re a PFA if you weren’t born on the island. We all love the book, News of the World by Paulette Jiles. Everyone gives it a nine on a scale of one to 10.
I leave book group early to pick up Oscar. He brings two travel mugs, each filled with a half cup of coffee. 44 North is closed today because of the MLK holiday. There’s little traffic outside as the Post Office and library are closed. We work diligently for three hours, saying little.
I work on my lighthouse painting. I spent most of yesterday painstakingly painting three pine trees — branches, needles, twigs – on the left of the lighthouse. Just before we left on Day Seven I quickly roughed in a fourth tree on the right of the lighthouse. I like the one on the right so much better than the three on the left. I spend much of Day Eight undoing what I did on Day Seven. I’m not sure I can salvage this painting.
Oscar gives me some sandpaper to lift up the Pepto-Bismol from my lobster trap painting. It’s on 300 lb. paper, which can take a beating. Gwendolyn Bragg, my former teacher at the Art League in Alexandria taught me that.
There’s a little light in the sky when we leave. “How would you paint that?” Oscar asks. “Cerulean, a little cadmium, some raw sienna,” I say. “The clouds I’d make cobalt blue and raw umber.”