Did I mention that Dave and Dominique came along with Greg and Veronica, on that Saturday studio and gallery visit, in February. The day of art viewing led to dinner at Barrio’s Cafe in Central Phoenix. Stimulating conversation, lots of laugh, food and drink, I recall it well.
Dominique found a drawing she liked that evening, titled “The Abundance Apparatus.” If there was ever a person meant to own that work, it is her. The work is about female energy, full, creative and overflowing. I was reading about goddess mythology at the time I painted it. The abstracted figure is green. Fact: Dominique and the color green, are one. From the little I knew about her then, I could draw this conclusion. Ironically, very soon I would be painting it.
Dave is a partner of Ruben’s. Dominique, while at their office, sees the painting Ruben had commissioned. She too wants a family portrait. Because I didn’t know them well enough, I ask if we can make time for an interview. A dinner is planned for my husband and myself and getting to know the Hoelzinger’s begins the moment we drive up to their Mayan inspired desert home: cacti, stained glass, kinetic sculpture, rugs, folk art, pattern, color, spirals, snails, music, dance, hummingbirds, and calendars…fill their world. (The calendars, an exciting find in this household. I will write about them in a future post). We have a very good meal as we sip white wine. I get busy asking questions. They are generous with answers and offer many stories.
My Notes and Sketches
Pulling It All Together
The Family Portrait
Dave is a Cardiologist, a healer (perhaps a mystic or shaman in another life). He plays guitar and sings. He practices yoga, runs, bikes, travels, enjoys his friends…works a lot. Time…where does he find it, I wonder. Dave shows me calendars, boxes of them… he hand painted calendars, day by day, for years, before family and work filled him. He is warm, funny and smiles a lot. He shares bits of Dominique with me. Her collection of shells and snails fill his space.
Dominique is a Molecular Biologist, a natural analyzer. She is a yogi, loves succulents, people, spiral shells, snails, and the color green…she dances flamenco (der Flamingo). She describes a costume dress…green and white, polka dots, full skirt. I decide then, this is what she will wear in the portrait. She is drawn to (one of my favorite symbols) the double helix, DNA, RNA.
I picture Dave and Dominique on their saltillo tiled floor that vibrates and swirls from dance and music. I create a paper model of the floor so I can get the angles right. I research heartbeats and find one that expresses excitement. It moves out of Dave’s stethoscope and extends towards Dominique. Sound. Connection. Life.
Dave and Dominique have two daughters Tais and Maia.
Tais, first thing she shares are her favorite colors, pink (“hot, in your face pink”) and black. She “loves” five pointed stars. An extrovert, she lives in Europe, studies phycology. She writes poems…she shares one with me. Trusting and open, I conclude. Emotional. “Slightly” spiritual. She likes jewelry, loves pearls…”could you include the ring my Omi gave me.” She has freedom in her, I feel it. I draw her on a pearl swing in the upper left corner of the composition and she wears the ring on both hands.
Maia also loves pink and black…and is “obsessed” with five pointed stars. She is introverted. She attends university in Colorado. She is in the lower right corner, because she is grounded, I decide. And because she loves architecture. Her snowboard sits behind her. She is comfortable with herself, practical. I ask what is most important to her…body, spirit or mind? Mind, a solid answer. She mentions the fall colors and the leaves in Colorado, different from the desert palette she grew up in. Maia also tells me about her name, and the Pleiades and the myth of the seven sisters.
…mom and dad memory… When they were little dad sang “Yellow Submarine” during bath time. Mom brought home dry ice, from work. Dry ice…for what? I ask. To play with. Onto the canvas come the Yellow Submarine and the dry ice.
Dave’s (calendar) art work caps and grounds the composition. And is fitted into tile within the floor. He sends me many images but I pick the few I believe are most important to the idea at hand, and then the ones I particularly like…visually. I carefully reproduce them. Detail oriented…he is. The eye in the sky symbol (Alan Parsons Project, and one of his calendar works) holds their white coats, past and present connect.
I think, research, sketch out, and everyday, for a number of months I add to the painting…cactus, snails, stained glass images, Dave’s family crescent, hearts, spirals, shells, cardiac monitor, helix’s, music notes, earth, water, four elegant whales, birds,and many shades of green. The final images are the pentacle and cup, from the tarot deck, symbolizing abundance and grace. I paint in the title and sign it the final day of the year.
The painting is complete and they plan an unveiling party. It rains this day, and my husband and I get lost in the desert, on our way there. We can’t be late! he says. We can, I say, because we are. We do arrive late, more excited from the drama. Dave and Dominique greet us, Greg and Veronica are also present. Tais and Maia, whom I had yet to meet in person, present themselves wearing the same attire they wear in the artwork. It would really have been funny if Dave and Dominique had done the same.
I hang the work, we take photos, eat, converse and dance until well after midnight…
I bet you wonder if this story is real. Because frankly, I do have a vivid imagination. And sometimes…I just want to have fun with it.