3:30 a.m. Really?

Redlands Hotel in the early a.m.

We will all return to the Bateau-Lavoir. We were never truly happy except there.

Pablo Picasso to Andre Salmon, 1945

In the depths of a 27-degree winter, we both awoke in the darkness around 3:30 and began talking. Finally we decided to get up, turn on the lights, dress, and go downstairs into the Gallery for coffee and books to bring back up to our suite. I guess that is one more of a hundred blessings of living the retired life–no timetable or schedule. Why not read at the kitchen table, continue conversing, write out the best stuff in the journal and cultivate good thoughts and prepare for another adventurous day? And it’s only Friday, not yet the weekend even.

The Dogwood Arts Council met in The Gallery at Redlands downstairs last night, and the camaraderie was lively and at its very best. We’re elated about the Dogwood Art and Music Festival coming up in late March and I’m even more enthused about tonight’s Gallery Talk that Deanna Pickett Frye will lead at 7:00. Palestine is emerging as a lively center for engagement in the arts. And I’m so grateful to be included in it.

Day before yesterday, I finished Miles J. Unger’s Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World. This is one of those books that is now worth going back over to re-read and respond to the many, many passages that I underscored during my first reading. Above, I’ve recorded Picasso’s quote at the beginning of this book. Forty years after his Bohemian, starving artist lifestyle, he rhapsodized over his studio years in the Bateau-Lavoir as a Golden Age. I find myself unable to do that. My own Bateau Lavoir occurred in 1987. I have memories of that era that I do not revisit wistfully. Life then was at its lowest ebb for me. I had completed my Ph.D., lived in a garage apartment, held down two part-time jobs and relied on the Fort Worth city bus service for transportation. I felt that nobody knew or cared whether or not I even existed. I lived as a phantom. Arcadia it was not. When the Arlington Independent School District hired me in 1988, my life was pulled out of the quicksand and I have never wished to return.

Maybe some day I will be able to say something more positive about my Baeau Lavoir. But not now. I feel I have been handed the most lovely gifts at this late stage of my life: retirement, a relationship, a home of my own, a gallery, time to pursue my art, part-time work teaching in a university–everything I ever wished for has been handed to me, and I love life more now than ever before. I wish this for everyone.

Thanks for reading and I hope you rise to a wonderful day today.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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