While Coming Across Flower Paintings…

…I thought of Pauline.

She comes to mind often. Her humus recipe surfaced the other day.

I wonder if she reached out to our friend, Bobby, upon his arrival. A few more photos were tucked into albums today.

Ed, Bobby and I headed out to see Pauline, our inspiring University professor, who lived perched above Kootenay Lake in Argenta. This was in 1996-97 and I was on Sabbatical. We got lots of sketching/painting done. We slept under the driftwood shelter on the beach. It was the weekend that my friend, Lynn Kierzek, died. While I slept, I wore a painting vest that Lynn crocheted. I still have that vest.

The border collie found in the photo is not Max Man or Laurie Dog…that’s Pauline’s dog. I felt right at home. I love the memory of this time away from the city, of conversations shared along the drive. We picked up a rose bush for Pauline in Cranbrook and planted it while in Argenta. We also purchased a bottle of spice that she needed, in a small grocery shop in Coleman.

May Bobby and Pauline rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Things That Grow

Listening to the news, it sounds like much of Canada is suffering drought.  It makes me wonder about how we’re going to be doing with produce this coming winter and how our farmers are going to cope with such devastation.

I woke this morning disheartened. A neighbouring tree was being taken down.  I left for a while to hike with Max because I couldn’t bear the sound of the saw anymore.  It’s been going on for three hours…”The wood is so hard,” said one of the fellas who was hired for the dirty deed.  I felt as though the saw was cutting into my own limbs, the pain was so real for me.

The earth sometimes screams back at us.  For no obvious reason, part of the mountain came down on Johnston’s Landing recently, taking two, possibly four beautiful lives with it and shaking a mountain community as well as reshaping and carving out the land.  I’ve driven on the scenic road that is now washed out…stood overlooking Kootenay Lake, in awe of its beauty.  I lift up my prayers for all of the community as they rebuild and appreciate more consciously, the wonder of peaceful walks along the river.

This morning, I looked at the wee things that were growing; again, amazed by how different an environment can look, one week to the next.

Everywhere, things are growing, producing and feeding the earth.  It is a glorious thing…how the earth bears fruit for humanity.  I just sometimes have to focus on the blessings, and not so often on how we are turning our backs on ‘the covenant’…our part of the bargain.

For lunch, I prepared myself a salad of red and green leafed romaine from the garden, cherry tomatoes, lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper and appreciated every morsel. I am richly blessed by things that grow.

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it. Tennessee Williams

Blue Glass

We wrote cards and letters once and a while, Pauline to me…me to Pauline.  I held her fast in my heart from the time she  taught me to draw; she taught me to see.  When I think about the fragments that are written and contained here, in a floating capsule of the ever-sparking information highway, I know that much of this has been inspired by Pauline.  I collect blue bottles and in the morning when the soft light dazzles them, I think of my teacher.  Late in the evening, when I pull up to the house, I feel happy because the coloured glass reflections glow and move and make me smile.  There are people who come into our thoughts often.  Pauline is one of those, for me.

She kept blue bottles on her window sills.

Painting by Robert Melville: Blue Glass Looking Out on Kootenay Lake

My Teacher and Friend

I received news yesterday that my friend of many years, Pauline McGeorge, passed away on July 2nd in Kaslo, B.C.  She has had tremendous influence on me as an artist, but primarily, as a person.  We have shared letters and art invitations over many years as I first met Pauline in 1973 when I began my work in the art department at the University of Lethbridge.  The news of her passing actually influences me to pursue my art…to contribute to the world…and to see that by teaching art, I can also carry a similar positive influence with my students.  Pauline will continue to be present to me in my studio and I will never forget her.  I will do everything in my power to attend the celebration of her life out in Argenta in August.