Meet Virginia.

She was a working found–object artist when I met her, a veteran of the craft.  She found potential in twigs, inspiration in a red candy wrapper tossed to the sidewalk.

This adorable, 76 year-old sprite of a woman was an inspiration. She made sculptures from driftwood and seaweed, the dancers my favorite. She did mobiles, baskets, so many artful things.

Then Virginia sort of disappeared.

I got busy, but would think of her often, when I would see interesting seed shells or twigs that looked like dancers’ legs. And, when I grabbed a few minutes to email her, the emails bounced back.

I saw her again many years later at an art reception. A friend had brought her because she no longer drove at night. To connect with her again was wonderful.

She was doing no art. She was afraid of making a mess in the beautiful retirement apartment she was renting – her husband and soulmate had passed on and the house was just too much to take care of.

A few days later I was hosting a Jackson Pollack painting party at the Bothwell and I knew she would love it, so invited her to come try her hand at action painting. Duane, my partner, made sure she got there and back.

She had a blast throwing paint around, and came up to me at the end of the night. In true Virginia form, she said, “can I come back tomorrow and pick up the dried paint?” with that found-object-sparkle in her eye.

She came, right on time, and bent at the waist, over and over again, delighted with peeling off her “found objects”.

She took those blots and specks home and played.

And so it began.

My friend Virginia turned 86 this year.

When I’m done with a long painting session, I’ve got splatters and splats and drips and dots (there are lots of dots) from my pour paintings all over my tarps. Virginia peels them off and makes “found art” collages and cool stuff without making much of a mess.

She gets so awesomely excited by the colors and the metallic encased in the drips and drabs and the possibilities in these ”found objects”, it does my heart good.

I am loving this.

She’s really going to like this latest batch…