First Thursday was very nice. We were worried at first - arrived about 5:15 and found a parking spot on the corner just down from the gallery - and then discovered three open spots directly in front of the place as we were walking up: uh oh. It was the night of the Civil War, which - alright, I'll admit, I didn't know what that was before this year. The big game between the Ducks and the Beavers, and I have to say, at first thought, there's something incongruous about using the word War alongside dorky animal names like ducks and beavers. Although when you think about it, if the ducks and beavers decided to go at it, I'd probably not want to be in the forest.
When we walked in, I think we may have been the only ones. Other than Charles and Rebecca behind the desk, who said perhaps we could get up a right rousing game of bridge. Then people started to filter in, in dribs and drabs. And the other two artists in the show: Gwen Davidson and Ronna Neuenschwander.
The volume of people grew as the evening did so that eventually we had a pretty full house moving through the exhibits. Stephen was signing books. The gallery is selling the book he had made of his work, and it was sweet to watch him sign - and labor over the perfect inscription for Tom Spanbauer. I suggested "fucking novenas, man," but he thought up something better.
But what lovely - to watch people study his paintings. They don't just glance and move by, they study. Get right up close. Often smiling and laughing. I told Stephen later, when I'm at your openings, I feel proud, like I own you. I stand back and watch people look at your work and think, all of that is mine. It's not just the man and the art, it's the world he creates in that art. In a way, I feel like I own that world a little. The way you do when you spend time in Paris or Tokyo and forever that place belongs a little bit to you.
I hope he feels the same way, some day, when I finish this novel - that he's lived a bit in that world I've created of and for the both of us.
[ooh, and i wore the vintage dress lanaux gave me - and noni's pearls. i'll take any excuse to put on the old dog, of course, but whenever i step into the stephen world, a bit of elegance is extra warranted.]