A Visit with My Friends/Collectors in their Palatial Home
Visiting Beziers and Making Amends
About 6 years ago I flew in and out of France to give a workshop. When my European/American friend Bonnie found out that I’d been there, she was terribly disappointed that I didn’t visit. This year I gave Bonnie and her husband Robin notice that I had 3 extra days before my art workshop would begin in Provence. To my great delight, both of them managed to come from London (main residence) and Germany (work) so that I could stay with them at their Beziers home!
Artworks Are Like Puppies
It was an opportunity to catch up with dear friends, to get updates on their adult kids –who I knew before they were born – and revisit some of my works and those of some of my past students. People say paintings are like the artist’s children, but that is hyperbole. Perhaps a better analogy is that an artist is like the head of a dog shelter and the pups are under his care until he finds loving homes for them.
Bonnie and Robin attended my biggest art show in 1990 in Beverly Hills and when they started their art collection they had the confidence to collect art they liked. One thing they did that enormously impressed me was that they visited and bought at art school shows. It is incalculable how much hope and inspiration they gave to young students by purchasing their art!
Our travels and visits have overlapped, connecting in Hollywood, Greece, New York, London, the southwest of England, and now France. We went on a “British” picnic that ended up in the pouring rain. We took a splendid bike ride on an idyllic day, passing River Piddle, and seeing Lawrence of Arabia’s grave in the small church of St Nicholas, in Moreton, Dorset. We’ve shared good and bad life events and the realness of mortality. We’ve hiked and seen the same landscapes.
The most important thing was that we enjoyed each other’s company. Throughout these stages, Bonnie and Robin always bought something of mine.
Patronage and Poverty
A delicate aspect of a friendship with an artist is patronage. Most artists are poor. Pulitzer winning art critic Jerry Saltzman mentions that if you want to be an artist expect to be poor. He is absolutely right. Most people work their butts off making money to be able to buy the things that add value to their lives. Artists work their butts off 24/7 to make meaningful art even if that means poverty for them.
Built into art’s DNA is a special aspect that only humans have. Art makes us feel universally connected. It soothes our souls and inspires our creativity. When you mix that with meaningful interpersonal relationships, it comes as close to love for existence as it gets. Thank you Bonnie and Robin.