Monday, January 4, 2010
I've been reminded by a few of my blog readers that I haven't posted in some time. I go through periods when I post a lot and then go silent. As I told a friend, I've been known to curl into my Cancerian shell and observe for a while. Lately, the shell feels safe and the view is about all I need. I've been wondering too what my first post of the new year would entail. Usually an idea will pop into my head and once it does, I realize that is the message to share. At 3 am I realized what I would write today.
For me, New Years has come to resonate with a certain degree of retrospection and quiet. I'm not the kind to need to over-indulge to mark the turning of a new year. I feel more like there are lessons I need to take from the stillness that require a level head to hear them.
A new year marks an end and a beginning. An exit and an entry. Last night that thought became underscored by learning of the death of one of our dear art fair friends, Denny Davis.
Denny was battling stage 4 Leukemia for the past two and half years. We last saw him at a show in Pensacola in November. His spirits were good and he told us he was about to undergo a stem cell treatment. He'd be hospitalized for several weeks. Later in November we learned that the treatment was such that it could kill him. I think we all felt he'd beat it. He seemed invincible. Complications arose and an infection ensued. He died yesterday afternoon.
Denny possessed a dark sense of humor that brought groans from some and laughs from others. It was his way of coping. I understood it since my Mom reacted the same way as she was dying. It was a twisted way to keep from going to the dark side, which he knew was at arms distance. Yesterday that arm reached out and took him from this world.
I've been crying on and off and realize this is my loss. The loss of someone I always looked forward to talking to is gone. I will miss him greatly, but this should not be about me. The art world has lost a great artist that painted with abandon and was prolific. He was the most well read individual I'd ever met. He was intelligent and articulate. He could recite and bring into focus concepts and history and politics that I can't begin to wrap my brain around. The last time I saw him he said he was ready to sell everything and move into someone's garage and paint and read. That was his life. That and his friends - and there was no shortage of them.
Denny could assemble and lay out a 100 square foot booth like no one I know! He would, in essence, create a maze of panels and fill them top to bottom with paintings. If you liked abstract work and left his booth without anything, it was amazing. He loved to work a deal and make a sale possible. "I'll tell ya what I'll do...." he'd begin. His paintings had a fire and life to them that always kept me looking into them. They were alive with his energy. He used red with great passion. I only wish I owned one of his canvases.
That I regret.
Denny loved to poke fun of people he felt were fake. TV evangelists and politicians in particular were his fodder! He had a way of justifying his disdain that always left me smiling. I used to call him a 'devout atheist' but reminded him I was praying for his good health. To which he'd reply 'hey, that's okay if you want to'.
His exit marks the entry to a new year.
Again, I sit quietly trying to take from his passing a lesson.
I mourn his loss, but I valiantly cheer his presence in my life. He will be missed greatly.
His doing what he loved, right to the end, is what I take from his passing. All he wanted to do was paint and spend
time with his friends.
I will not let his exit be an ending, but a beginning.
A passage to an entry.
He wouldn't want it any other way, and to honor him, that's how I will remember his life.
RIP dear friend, wherever you are!
An informal gathering of Dennys friends will be held at:
The Miller Bakery Cafe
555 S. Lake St.
This Saturday, Jan. 9 at 1 PM.
The phone number for Miller's is 219-938-2229