“My art collection is largely complete. Much left to hang, some still framing. But from a curating perspective, I am done. Frances Byrd from Georgia began my collection with a commission to memorialize Ellen. She created this collage drawing. (Photo 1) I am still amazed by it. Will explain it later. I’m going to bed soon. She recently accomplished another commission to bookend this collection (Photo 2). As most of you have heard me say, Ellen was a chef quality home cook. Devoted to French cooking, but willing to experiment. This is a French restaurant sign done in oils honoring Ellen’s kitchen. The test sketch Frances did for this I bought as well in a frame and sent to my son Scott for his kitchen. He and his Mom spent hours and days cooking in collaboration with each other. Scott and Lenzi are both great cooks. Anyway herewith the pictures, bookends for my collection. Lancaster H/T and thanks so much Frances Byrd.”
“I gave a little commentary on the other picture last night. A memorial, multi-media drawing to center Ellen’s art. It was approaching Two AM. I was tired. Promised a few words. Frances Byrd and I got to know each other over this art we shared back and forth. Now her work is all over my house, mostly where I write. What you see here: 1) on top is a wonderful water color pencil drawing of the Salt Ponds where we lived and loved this place together for 16 years; 2) Ellen seemed to me an empath without the introvert. Ellen loved people. She instinctively sensed a problem, then in lovely conversation, she would tell a story about she and me. Embedded in the story a solution to the problem. Never judgments. Always kindness, smiles, and focused friendship. She lived for this. It was for me like watching an angel. So we portrayed her as a lovely songbird. 3) Ellen allowed me complete freedom to be or do what I was in love with. I loved the Army mostly. I loved my positions after the Army, which often took me away. Ellen was a magnificent partner with me in making a home and the dearest children and grands. One of the things I did was join with several of my best friends providing music for retreat weekends with soldiers all over, with young people from Atlanta, all dear friends reaching pure lovely in their lives, and retreats in prisons for years. Ellen participated in many of these, but with grace and smiles supported me doing music with my friends. 4) On the right is a panel of lyrics hand written by Frances from a Beatles tune, in encaustic. Most of the lines subdued in wax save one: “maybe I love you because you help me sing my song.” Then a bouquet of Oxeye Daisies, the smiles of a floral world. Ellen a landscaper for many years. This ended up perfectly. And most of the art I pulled together creates gardens all along the walls bordering this drawing. It’s a memorial for Ellen, but I did this for me as a profound thank you for this lovely spirit who formed my life. I celebrate my family every day in this place we all love. I have a vault next to Ellen’s in the Veterans Cemetery. But my spirit’s molecules will morph into my deck, continuing prayer forever.”
It’s difficult to express how humbling and gratifying to know that a piece of art you created has moved another person so deeply. I have learned so much from this gentleman in our correspondence and partnering for several pieces of artwork over the last few years.