Today I want to show you Glen Epstein's gift to me and tell you a story about it.
(If anyone knows how I can get my images to show up larger here, please let me know. In the meantime, clicking on them will make them slightly larger.)
Several years ago I assisted Diana Hutchison in planning a calligraphy retreat at Stone Rest Retreat Center in southern Indiana. The site, owned by one of Diana's long time friends, is fantastic - a huge rustic looking residence with all modern amenities. The surroundings are very much conducive to great work and great fun. The instructors were Steve Skaggs and Eliza Holliday, and the invited participants included the inimitable calligrapher Glen Epstein of Iowa.
I was looking through my notebook from that retreat last week and was surprised at the depth of the instruction - and the quality of work I had done, including writing exercises that brought out our thoughts and feelings about our surroundings. One of the exercises in this well-rounded experience was to paint strokes of acrylics onto a piece of canvas. Glen gave his to me. I had forgotten all about it. It was in that notebook and I decided to frame it to hang on my studio wall. And therein lies the rest of the story.
I took last week's unfinished painting and the gift from Glen with me when I met Diana one day last week, but when I brought them out of my car to show her, Glen's piece was missing. I searched the car over, and carefully thought of every move I'd made between leaving my house and opening that car door. When I got home I hoped to find it on the garage floor, and further hoped that I hadn't backed out over it and that it would be found unharmed. Glen is deceased, was a sweet friend to me, and I really wanted that remembrance of him. Unfortunately, the garage floor was bare. My husband's car was gone, so I hoped he'd found it and had taken it into the house. Not there.
I had placed my painting with Glen's canvas nestled in the frame of it on the trunk of my car when I'd unlocked the door. Could the canvas have remained on the trunk when I picked up my painting? If so, perhaps it had blown off as I backed out of my driveway. I got into the car to retrace my path. Not at the driveway. Not at the mailbox. Not along the street to the stop sign. I made the left turn to the main street nearby thinking I'd have picked up speed then and perhaps it had blown off then. Alas, I didn't see it there either. I drove to another street on my path before giving up the search and turning my car around. I did keep my eyes peeled for any sign of it on my way back home. Near the stop sign at my street I spotted a piece of paper in a yard. Could that be it? I backed up for a closer look. 'It COULD be,' I thought. I pulled into a stranger's driveway, ran to the yard and retrieved the scrap 'paper'. It was Glen's gift, unscathed in the damp grass. Persistence and sleuthing paid off. I'm glad I found it. I have to think Glen would get a giggle out of it.
Diana is coming over to paint with me this weekend, and I will be finishing last week's painting.
by Jan Hurst