Monday, December 29, 2008

thank you, Alison!

A few days before Christmas, as we were trying to make all the arrangements necessary to leave the house and head to Vancouver, Pater walked into my office where I was checking ferry schedules on the computer. I turned around to see a pleased smile on his face, a certain anticipation in his bearing, and then noticed, and tried to work out, what he was carrying. A large piece of artwork, no, it wasn't one of our own. . . a watercolour . . . looked like something by my friend, Alison . . . "This is for you," Pater confirmed. "Alison left it with me before they left in September, and she asked me to give it to you at Christmas. I'd rather give it to you here on the island since I'm guessing you'll want to keep it here."

Alison and I have been good friends for some twenty years now, and we generally exchange small-ish gifts at Christmas and birthdays. Missing her lately, I've looked at books, especially, and at the Porto soaps as well, thinking of what I might choose for her if she were home. But I would never have dreamed that she'd have planned ahead and left a gift for me and I could never have imagined that she'd give such a beautiful, substantial, HUGE gift as this lovely painting of poppy pods in a tranquilly blue vase.

If you've clicked on the links I've left here in earlier posts, you may already have been following Alison's year-long sailing adventure with her husband, Kim, and you'll have seen the watercolours that enliven her posts -- so you can see how talented she is (she's an accomplished poet and creative non-fiction writer as well, with books and prizes to her credit). We've bought several of her paintings through the years, and I'm thrilled to be able to add these poppies to my collection.

Naturally, we were eager to get the painting up on the wall, but at first were stymied about where it could find a spot -- we seem to have more windows than walls, and the walls downstairs have all been claimed. We tried to think what could be shifted where and what might be combined to advantage, and we were debating moving a large-ish painting at the bottom of the stairway. We looked up the stairs, though, and registered the colours combined there, looked at the painting again, and . . .

What do you think? Is that meant to be? When I showed this photo to my daughter, Megan, she asked if Alison had seen this spot and painted the vase-with-poppy-pods deliberately for its colours. I don't think that's the case (Alison?), but the results certainly suggest that possibility. Look at the combination of blue and wood/tan (the paint colour Benjamin Moore calls Boardwalk).
I love that the colours of this vignette (especially with the play of sun and shadows) evokes the land-and-seascapes Alison and Kim are currently moving in. I've more than once thought of trying to grab a flight down the coast to spend a weekend together, and if little Nola hadn't arrived I'd probably have done that by now. But until they get back, I've got this delightful painting to brighten my days and remind me of a friendship that has meant so much to me over the years. Alison, thank you so much, and I wish you all the best as you and your family spend the holiday season together, and as you prepare for the next, most adventurous, leg of your sailing journey. Hugs and much love, my friend -- I look forward to your return and many more island walks and cups of tea in the garden.



6 comments:

  1. Gorgeous!!!

    What a lovely and thoughtful gift, and I think you've found the perfect spot for it.

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  2. Wow - what an incredible work of art, and gift! And that location does certainly seem meant to be.

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  3. Lovely, and a perfect place for it as well. What a thoughtful and generous gift from your friend

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  4. A gift of beautiful art from a dear friend is among the best gifts ever. I have received art work from some very talented friends and the gift meant almost as much to me as if I was given a Monet. I treasure them, undoubtedly as you do this lovely Alison original.

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  5. Pseu, Jillian, Mardel, Weasel: Thank you. Yes, I think I'm very, very lucky!

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  6. just back in La Paz after spending Christmas and New Years exploring a nearby island with kids and friends (which was wonderful!). I am so glad you like the painting. It looks great on that blue wall. Fun to hear about Paul presenting it to you--I can enjoy the moment. Also have loved reading about your family Christmas. Nola looks like she's thriving. And I go to your blog to get my PI hit. Thanks for keeping me going. Abrazos....

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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