I sent off the last two Love Notes two days ago, apart from the one that I have kept for myself.
A Series of 12 Paintings
In 2004, I took up running along the ridge and down on to the lower trail along the Bow River. I had stopped to take a break at a random point. It was shady. I was completely alone, and to the right of me, the river flowed a blue green. I bent to tighten my laces, when at my toe, I saw a single rose. Bewildered, I picked it up and held it in my hand, looking. I spoke out loud at that time and said, “If this is some sort of a sign, Lord, thank you.”
I had lost at love again. It had become a ritual with me in my life. This time I was stumped and struggling to get back on track. The rose was a gift for me, a gift of healing.
Just next to the path and under some trees, I found a bench. I decided to sit and rest there for a time. I didn’t notice them at first, but there, hung by ribbon from the trees, were eleven roses. I gasped. All of a sudden, I felt that the space, the landscape and the river were more sacred. Something had happened at this location or someone special/an event had been remembered. I sat quietly for the longest time. Instead of continuing on a run, I turned for home, the rose still in my cupped hand.
I decided to paint a dozen roses…nostalgia, memory, love, symbols…
Eleven people have now received a Love Note…I have kept the one. The process: I flipped the paintings over in a grid of twelve and I wrote out my own love note, left to right, from top to bottom. Writing had, over the years, become an essential practice for me...this, along with exploring the visual world…objects…landscape…faces.
The painting at the top left was titled Love Note #1, all the way to Love Note #12 in the bottom right. If you received a Love Note, it was because something in you lit a spark in me. This was a very random, but time-impacted process. It would take an amazing moment in the gyre of life to bring the owners all together so that they might read the complete note on the back, something that connects all of you!
The original rose that I found at my toe remains in my studio, a reminder of the lessons taught in my favourite book, Le Petit Prince par Antoine de Saint-Exupery. If you received a Love Note, I would love to hear from you…and hear about the moment when you received a painting gift from me. I would enjoy reading your love note to me.
As time passes, I lose friends. I hold onto their memory in words and images.