Several years ago I attended a garage sale in my neighbourhood. A good deal of the items for sale were paintings, frames, and art supplies.
Talking to the woman conducting the sale, I found out she was an artist. Unfortunately, at the time I couldn’t use any of the items and wished her luck with her sale. Two years later there was an estate sale on the same block. This time I went in the front door, as the sale was in the house. Looking around I saw that among the contents of the house there were a lot of art and artist supplies and realized I was in the same house behind which the earlier garage sale had taken place.
I asked about the woman artist but the women running the sale who were apparently friends of hers seemed reluctant to discuss the matter. I assumed she was not well and may have been in a nursing home or hospital. I then realized that at the earlier sale she was downsizing, probably anticipating the day when she had to move and give up her art.
The volume of and quality of work she had produced indicated she had put many years of labour, love, and a good deal of herself into her art. It was saddening to think that all that work would be sold for a pittance. The items for sale were reasonably priced and, knowing a bit of the circumstances behind the sale, I didn’t haggle. Still, I felt guilty at benefitting from the woman’s misfortune as I bought a swivel chair and an excellent painting of a blue heron mother and her chick which I had framed and now reposes on my living room wall.
I have good reason to think about the woman artist, as every time I walk across my living room I come face to face with her heron painting and I’m typing this sitting in her swivel chair from which she no doubt created much of her art.
I hope she is well and has an opportunity to read this and know that, though I barely know her,
I think fondly of her and in my own small way appreciate her efforts.
Ron Buffie is a community correspondent for Transcona. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org