Tuesday, November 2

Mentor's and memory lane

Year of the Dragon, Winter 2008

Picture it - Austin, Texas, springtime. There are people sitting on porches and bikes whizzing by in blurry greens. There’s that feeling of youth and invincibility, pink colored health and year round suntans. Rounding corners there are bush bouquets of mountain laurel and old oak trees.  I am in college and living in techni-color.

Those days I rolled into Gibbs Milliken's 2-D design class weekly fresh off the well-landscaped campus of UT. Looking back, I see clearly now the purpose and intent of the time. I think that whatever those days were meant to show me was seen and everything unfolded in perfect time. In those early days, Gibbs was just my professor, but quickly turned into a dear friend and mentor. Gibbs joined the ranks with my parents and cheered on this brand new love growing in me – painting. I do believe that kind of support got me right to this spot I am talking to you from now. Whew! What a blessing.

Gibbs passed on in November 2008. I swear sometimes I can feel him around me, cracking a joke and cheering me on. Did you know that he once let me leave during class to purchase a plane ticket to Portugal? He knew how important it was to see the world. Anybody who spent time in Gibbs presence knew of the vibrant, vivacious way he took on life. He could carry a room with one of his stories and his sense of humor??
I sure hope you packed a second pair of underwear!

He once sent me an email with a batch of NASA photographs attached. I came across again while cleaning up my inbox a few weeks ago. It inspired the painting above you know? 
It read:
These are truly awesome images. NASA Hubble telescopes top ten greatest space photographs to date. They look almost fake in many cases because outerspace is fantastic to us small Earthlings. ----You can find these and many others on the Hubble website. ----Just enjoy the visual qualities of these strange and majestic scenes. They remind me of the way you use space in your paintings,  Gibbs

An intricate piece woven in the ether of memory, Year of the Dragon was inspired by not only the incredible images NASA gifts us and mentors from the college days, but also my surprise discovery that I was born in the year of the dragon. To read that story visit this post.

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