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Midnight Reflections – The Artist

–with Raissa Urdiales

The lights were dimmed and only spotlights highlighted the awe-inspiring paintings that hung on the walls.  The colors were vibrant, running the gauntlet from passion to anger and even great sadness.  The wood floor was old, dark, and had seen many people walk down the gallery.  His footsteps echoed a deep sound like that of a bass drum in a blues song.  It was not possible to walk quietly and some of the other guests turned to look.  He was never comfortable with people, but this was Olivia’s work and she sent him a handwritten invitation to come to Savannah for this show.

She had painted many of the historic homes and gardens of Savannah and their beauty was breathtaking.  The one he came to see and to buy was the one of him and her walking her dog in the rain.  Her hello written on the fog of his office window in Charleston had captivated him and after she moved to Savannah, he opened an office there so he could be close to her.  As the crowd grew, he could feel the anxiety building inside as his heart beat faster and his breathing harder.

Her name was Olivia Kline; some called her Liv, and some called her Ollie, but she never cared for nicknames. Of course, she made an exception for Joshua because, well, he was her tall, dark, handsome knight in shining armor, so when he called her Princess Liv, it just seemed right.

She was never sure why she did not like nicknames or her name for that matter, it seems like a fine enough name. It fit for both a child and an adult, except initials were not something that her parents thought about when naming her. I mean having the initials of “OK” is not terrible, I guess it is OK, but it did limit how she signed her paintings.

Speaking of which, she despised her handwriting, including her signature, and rarely signed the front of the paintings she created. Someone once suggested she just put her initials, but putting “OK” in her painting corner did not seem like an effective way to market her creations. When asked why she did not sign her work, the answer was always the same. Her paintings represented her non-verbal side, her quiet side, her contemplative side. As soon as she put her name on a piece, it made it work to be handed in or scrutinized and was a clash with her non-verbal way of looking at life. In her mind, it was no different than putting her name at the top of the page of an assignment to be turned in. So no, she tried not to have to sign her creations to be able to preserve them as creations and not “work.”

Tonight exhibit was a uniquely special event. It was Joshua’s first time at one of her shows, and her already typically nervous self was especially on edge. She circulated through the display and listened to the remarks of those as they passed by each piece. One seemed to be the fan-favorite of a couple walking down a city street. That particular one Olivia did not plan on selling; it was a memory of an extraordinary walk that changed two people’s lives forever.

She found a place to have a glass of wine and some solitude while waiting for Joshua to arrive. Someone approached her, asking about the Walking in the Rain titled piece, and she saw him, out of the corner of her eye. She politely said to the person inquiring that it was not for sale and reserved for a very special owner. Then she turned, smiled, and raised her glass of wine to Joshua to come to join her.

He saw her at a table sipping wine with her dog sitting quietly and calmly by her side.  How she had changed his life and given it meaning was something he had never expected. Several people were inquiring about the painting of that rainy night, but she would only smile and say this one belongs to someone incredibly special and I hope to give it to him someday.

He stood a few feet away watching her in the shadows as she engaged her guests and told them all the stories about her paintings.  He knew that the people of Savannah had welcomed her with open arms and loved her paintings.  The paintings of her dog Vincent were very sought after and Savannah being a dog-friendly town had people lined up to have portraits painted of their dogs.

The showing was finally winding down and there were many bare spaces on the walls where paintings had sold.  He finally walked over and said, “You had a great show.  They loved your work and really came out to support you, both emotionally and financially.  A lot of homes and offices in Savannah will have your paintings on their walls.  Speaking of walls, take a walk with me down the street.”

Joshua had rented an office a few blocks from the gallery and as they walked down the street, the rain came.  A gentle refreshing rain that takes the humidity out of the heavy southern air.  Vincent was smiling his big smile, and she asked him if he remembered the first walk they took in the rain together.  It was a life-changer for them both.

They walked onto the front porch and opened the door to an old historic home.  It had a hallway down the center of the house.  On a plaque above a set of French doors was her name and all the painting she had given him adored the walls.  He hoped she would not mind because now they could truly work together.  Her office opened to a large gallery space where she could paint and display her work.  For a moment, their eyes locked.  Finally, he grabbed an old umbrella and they headed out to finish that walk in the rain.

Author’s Note:  This is the second installment of the “Midnight Reflections” Series.

Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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