he’s gone of course.
we’re going back into the shadows and sunlight of time.
to a place
just like that studio above.
as a matter of fact . . . it’s the very bare bones of it.
it is bruno’s house.
all my thoughts are jumbling around!
they’re saying to me now . . .
after all these years . . . even only just now . . .
new discoveries . . .
as if i’ve been panning for gold . . .
and just now FOUND IT!
oh! THAT’S why i bought THAT painting !!!
that’s why i love it so!
i’ve always been partial to oriental gardens !!!
why the sound of trickling fountains
never fails to make me simply
i haven’t thought of bruno
in years and years.
once upon a time.
long ago . . .
when i was just a little girl.
we lived in a very ordinary house.
down the block and across the street was
NOT ordinary house.
it actually wasn’t a house at all.
it was only bruno’s studio.
but he lived in it.
all the houses up and down the streets were like mine.
and in the midst of all of them . . .
was this amazing tract of . . . pure enchantment.
about only 2 acres probably.
and surrounding it all was a chain link fence.
we children used to peer through the fence.
hoping to catch a glimpse of him.
he never spoke to us.
but sometimes . . .
he would give a smile and a dismissive wave of his hand.
. . . somehow a cheerful greeting that also said . . .
” go away now! “
though he never said it aloud.
children can be noisy . . . very noisy
but i wasn’t. not at bruno’s.
i used to stand there at that fence
and watch him paint his house.
an enchanted place.
at least it was enchantment to
as i look back now i realize that
others . . . mainly adults . . .
probably only saw it as an eccentric
as a matter of fact it would probably not even
be permitted in today’s real estate world.
he would be forced out somehow by big money brokers.
there is little room in most traditional neighborhoods
for artistic individuality in today’s world.
at least that particular individuality that
displayed so exuberantly!
his was such a quiet joy really.
just living his life in peace.
it was not an eye sore . . .
not to bruno. nor to my sweet mother.
nor to me.
all over that studio
that looked so very identical to the one above
even to the same tiled roof . . .
bruno painted a literal
RIOT of FLOWERS !!!
yes! ALL over it!
wild and huge
very strange unreal flowers . . .
in vibrant and wonderful colors!
sometimes they were just against the sun color
of his adobe house.
sometimes they were against a jungle background
of deep forest green.
and mixed in here and there among the flowers
were exotic birds . . . flying
or perched on branches
against the deep green forest background . . .
brilliant little shadows in a rain forest.
i’ve never seen anything like it.
right after i moved here
to my tiny wren house.
i told you a little about them in another post.
when i saw them . . . i was craving color
for some reason.
craving it! like pizza!
a rather unusual state for me and color.
i have tended to always like more calming tones.
i’m a lover of white. and silver greys and creaminess.
i ‘ve always liked jolts of color. only in small ways.
but now . . . and why? . . .
color was suddenly very necessary to me!
i saw the three paintings that fulfilled
and now they are in
the wren house!
these paintings i bought when i moved in here . . . yes . . .
what about them for pete’s sake?
today it suddenly dawned on me . . .
these are bruno’s flowers!
unknown kinds of flowers!
filled with life! and color!
and bruno’s spirit.
bruno’s love of life at the tip of his brush.
i am not generally a flower person either.
in any way really.
although the works of georgia o’keeffe i love.
though hers are hardly traditional old bean!
i have never been one for the traditional still lifes of the art world.
beautiful though they may be.
and i admit to that. i just have never wanted them.
but these . . .
these are my bruno!
there is nothing still life about them!
no vases with draping cloths.
no tables. no visible strained composition of any kind!
just joyous simple forms of flowers and color.
beautiful color that has a singing quality.
can paintings sing?
last year . . . at the time i bought them
i wasn’t making that connection.
i only knew that they drew me to them . . .
they simply made me smile. they made me happy.
and i didn’t know why.
it was more than just the colors.
i didn’t know what it was. it was a mystery to me.
because they are so unlike anything i would usually have.
now i know.
they’re all tied up with memories of my beloved little mother
and peering through magical fences
and the love of a child for her first sense of beauty and freedom.
freedom of expression of someone’s soul.
so i bought them last year.
wondering how long before i tired of them.
you know that i am a minimalist at heart.
i do not have knicky knackys in here.
the glass topped tables are empty and reflect the
light that i love. always. clear. clean and unencumbered
and i suppose the largeness of these paintings
would quickly drive me crazy if i lived in a cluttered style.
but i don’t. so they alone give me joy.
they compete with nothing. they simply sing their song.
two large ones of flowers.
and then . . .
just a bit smaller than the other two . . .
an homage to bruno’s magical birds.
this one is a toucan!
his brilliant orange oddly shaped beak is beautiful
against the deep blue of his feathers . . .
like this guy . . .
only my gorgeous little toucan
sits there in the deep forest green of the rain forest.
a bruno bird for sure!
i may not keep them all forever. i doubt that i will.
but for now and all last year . . . when i was so ill . . .
they made me smile and want to get well.
one hangs above my desk as i write this.
and i can look up and smile and somehow . . .
i’m peering through the fence!
and another large one is on the big wall in my tiny kitchen!
you’d think that doesn’t work at all in there!
but it does! it’s magical!
and the toucan makes me laugh.
such a comical looking exotic bird!
he just makes me feel good about life itself.
i see bruno’s house . . .
in my little wren house!
i see a symbol of my whole childhood.
the one that was cut too short in many ways.
but the one that was also filled with love and beauty and light.
they delighted this small girl child.
they looked just like the flowers i drew myself when i was little!
with my own crayons !!!
and all on the outside of his studio house.
oh my! LOLOL.
strange. free. talented. happy. bruno.
listening calmly to his own drummer.
who is to say which memories in our childhood
form some of our likes and dislikes?
what is taste in art?
what makes a matisse a matisse
or a bruno a bruno?
i like matisse too.
and chagall. and monet. and renoir. and bonnard.
but what makes memories so real?
subliminal enough to make you love something unusual?
i suppose it has all been studied.
just as everything today is the subject of
good grief charlie brown!
everything is scrutinized and tested and debated and argued and . . .
it all just makes me a little tired. all of that.
all i really know is . . .
i am living for joy now.
only that which makes me happy.
that is what finds a place in my life.
once in my life i knew a man named
maybe he had reached that very place in his own life.
who lived in color.
as i look back on him now . . .
i think he could have been a hero for hemingway.
hemingway would have known how to put bruno on paper.
bruno’s life and hemingway’s style were not that unlike.
bruno was just a simple man.
childlike wonder and love of his flowers.
a solitary happy man.
he didn’t care apparently
about what ‘other people thought’
which was the scourge really
of that particular point in time.
it seemed for awhile there
some people thought that
it was ridiculously terribly important to care about
‘what other people thought.’
this one life.
this one and only wonderful life.
to waste it on living to impress or please other people.
people you very likely will never even know !!!
i have never understood that mindset.
i must have learned early. from bruno i guess . . .
and probably no less . . . from my own beautiful
free spirited mother . . .
to live your life in technicolor !!!!
if that’s what pleases you. and now . . .
i only have myself to please anyway.
i think my darling bob would not have been
quite so impressed by these paintings!
bruno’s house was just another one of his canvases.
and his garden?
well . . .
at bruno’s studio house . . .
beyond that homely and simple chained link fence
was a magical garden.
bruno took care of his own garden.
when he was not painting he was in the garden. working.
there were many trees.
and from a few of those trees hung mobiles of colored glass.
that caught the light . . . like these . . .
and made wonderful sounds. like silvery rain.
and there were copper and other shiny metals.
these are beautiful. i don’t remember his being shiny though.
there were huge modern sculptures in odd places
half hidden by plants.
his garden had winding paths.
some with stepping stones.
all simple. and he kept them well.
there was the sound of a cooling fountain
that was made by a simple bamboo pipe
i remember it well.
very much like this one
he was not asian.
but he did speak with some kind of heavy accent.
and i remember thinking he was
although i was that age in childhood where
all adults seemed very old.
he didn’t wear a shirt.
and he wore shorts and sandals.
and he was very brown.
as if he lived outdoors year round.
every now and then there would be a sign put up.
similar to this one.
it’s the only time anyone was ever invited or to be seen
around his studio and his garden.
and many many people always came!
my mother took me to some of his sales.
i do not remember if she ever bought anything.
but they would talk. i think he liked us.
i remember that he shook my hand.
very formally. as if i were a visiting princess.
i was shy of him.
i felt a little as if i were meeting
the wizard of oz.
before they discovered he was just a
little old man behind a screen with a microphone!
but he wasn’t the wizard.
he was just
listening to his own drummer.
thank you bruno.
for being part of my childhood.
and for unknowingly teaching me
listen to my own drummer.
til next time old bean.
til next time!