>White Flip Flops, Trolley Art Tour and More Mixed Bag Ladies

>Well, this is it, Labor Day… the last day for wearing white shoes, if you were raised in the South. In honor of this sacred tradition, I wore my white flip flops on my one outing of the day – to the grocery store to get steaks to cook out tonight. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be dusting off my black flip flops … the ones I got at Walgreen’s last October for my November beach trip. But today is a day to celebrate wearing white, and being lazy with your family and friends, compliments of the American Federation of Labor. Oh, and cooking out and watching golf on tv or whatever brings you joy!

My husband and I started the weekend celebration early… on Friday night, actually, at the monthly Art Trolley Tour on South Main with two other couples. We started at D’Edge Gallery, where I was anxious to see Jaime Winton’s new work “kiss the ground” which features part of a poem I love by Rumi, “Where Everything is Music.” I first heard the poem set to music by Kris Delmhorst on her CD, “Strange Conversation,” so when I heard that an artist had illustrated it, I just had to see it. Thought about buying it … but decided I might paint one myself some day. Anyway, the six of us had great fun riding the trolley, wandering in and out of galleries, trying on crazy hats (didn’t buy them, either!), meeting artists, drinking wine, and ending up at Blue Fin for delicious sushi and other yummy stuff.

Sunday afternoon was the second gathering of the Mixed Bag Ladies, and brought the return of serious oil painting, experimental painting with makeup, a gouche portrait and a four-canvas display of joyful sunflowers in oil and charcoal. This group is so much fun. If your inner artist is lonely, call up a few friends and do this – bring something to make, paint, play with, etc., and some wine and snacks and there you have it – food for the soul, spirit and body. I’m so grateful to my friend (and Goddaughter) Julie, for hosting this and inviting me!
In this picture, I’m laying in the washes for the base colors of a gouache painting of my daughter and me, twenty-two years ago … on her first morning in this country. She flew into Memphis (from South Korea) and into my arms and heart in November of 1985, jet-lagged and confused and just under three years old. Waking her up to take her back home with us to Mississippi the next morning, I wanted to hold her forever and to never forget how she felt in my arms. Watching this image appear on paper with paint flowing from the end of a brush held in my hand, I couldn’t help but think of the things that she would be creating in her work as an architect. At the beach this past April, I asked her what she wanted to do after grad school. “Oh, you know, I still want to save the world.” With beauty, like Dostoevsky said? One building at a time? As we drove around Seaside with its amazing architecture and beautiful landscaping, and then back to the beachfront house we had rented at Seagrove, also a lovely structure, we talked about how our environment affects us and why the archicture and “soul” of a house, even a vacation house, matters so much. She looked at me and said, “go big or go home.” She gets it.

I still want to hold her …. and tell her, as Kris Delmhorst sings, “let the beauty that you are be what you do.” And see. And hear. Like these lyrics from Rumi’s poem, sung by Kris Delmhorst:

We’ve come to the place where everything is music
Everything is music, let it play.
Why do you stay in jail when the door is wide open?
Let the beauty that you love be what you do.

Stop talking now, open up the window
The one right there in the middle of your heart
Give us your hands, sit down in this circle
You know you got no need to keep yourself apart

Today you wake up sad and empty, don’t go back to sleep.
There’s a million ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Don’t worry now, about saving all these songs,
There’s so many more just waiting to be found.

And if all these instruments should disappear
We would still hear something coming up from way down in the ground
Because we’ve come to the place where everything is music
Everything is music, let it play.

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