When I graduated from college I purchased a Fender Rhodes electric keyboard, suitcase model, and found myself in my first band. The guys names were Chuck, Jay and Scott.The Fender Rhodes seemed heavier than a car. I’d load it up and go to many a rehearsal with my newly found bandmates and subsequent bands. I had that Rhodes for around 20 years and sold it to a kid that I worked with at Stantons Sheet Music. I’d superglued the vinyl back on so many times I lost count. Sometimes, I wish I had it back but I’d never want to move it again;)
I really can’t even remember the name of that band. Jay, (our drummer) came from a large family that lived in a large house. Naturally we rehearsed in his basement. I remember there was a lot of Steely Dan, Alan Parsons, CSNY and of course, Fleetwood Mac going on. The bonafide 70’s experience. Four kids in a basement banging out as many tunes as they could working towards their first gig. I really can’t even remember if we ever got booked. Maybe a gig at Mt. Vernon Nazarene College. Maybe not.
Jay was a mechanic at the time but went on to be a successful artist. Chuck rose up through the ranks at Radio Shack and got married. I had lunch with him and his wife once after the band dissolved and never saw him again. I think he moved to New Orleans. I run across a cassette tape of his songs now and then in my garage. Strangely, I still can’t bring myself to toss it. Funny how tangible items carry that kind of power. It even has the old beaten up radio shack green and white label on it. Through the years, I would again meet up with Scott. A guy totin’ a high IQ with a great skill set that spans about anything he puts his mind to. Recording, bass playing, carpentry, craftsmanship of all kinds and on and on. I have also observed that he is a good husband, father, son and grandfather. Cool dude for sure.
Scott met and married a very sweet lady named Carrie. Carrie owns Brasseur’s Botanicals over on Hudson Avenue in Newark, Ohio. A great couple with entrepreneurial spirits. It wasn’t hard for me to see why the clicked so well.
Scott messaged me about painting a trio of pieces as a gift to his wife. At first we were shooting for her birthday, but it transcended into Valentines day. We exchanged several messages about the subject matter. Much to my delight, after giving me a few things to go on, he let me have my way with the project. Scott built an incredible bath/spa very cool “zen vibe” space in his house. He wanted to surprise Carrie with the paintings to decorate part of the area and expand on the theme he had created. He gave me these words to work from: Things that have meaning for Carrie are the Caribbean, San Francisco, Malta, beaches, sun and water. He sent me some great pics of the area he wanted to place the paintings in and we were off to the races. The whole exchange probably took about a month and a half or so til we hammered out the details.
Water, Beaches, sun and exotic places are obviously some of my favorite things to paint. I truthfully had never done a thematic trio before so this was new turf and I think I will be doing it again. It was a “shhhhh” secret because Carrie was none the wiser about her future gift. I met Scott backstage at the Midland Theatre before doing our Couch Concert on January 24th to deliver the paintings. I didn’t know that Scott had worked as a stage tech for 10 years at the Midland so he knew his way around the place very well. I hadn’t seen him for years and it was good to do a little catching up before the show started.
Carrie made a Face Book post on Valentine’s Day including pictures of her just opened gifts. The trio was a hit and if there were more husband points for Scott to get, I’m sure he got them that day.
Scott it was a pleasure to work with and see you again. Carrie, I’m so happy you loved your gift and I wish you both a great 2021.
THE PAINTINGS: This project was born from so many pieces of my past. My very first 70’s band, my travels at sea as a working musician and the reconnection with old friends and fellow craftsman. The dialogue that went into it was easily understood because that’s how it works for old friends. They say, “here’s the info” “do your thing”. I ultimately gave the trio the title of “Good Vibrations”. #1 cuz you know I frequently like to use musical themes in titles and #2 because that’s what I thought when I looked at the room Scott had created in his and Carrie’s home. Two of the paintings were of horizontal orientation on 8x10 gallery wrapped canvas. One of the paintings was vertical and a 9x12. They weren’t necessarily aimed at an exact panoramic flow, but subtly indicated that. Maybe kinda three piece suit like. I used watercolor and ink. No fishies or sea life was harmed during this production and the beaches warmed me during this slightly more severe Ohio winter.
What strikes me about this project is love. Someone loving someone enough to put this much thought into their mate’s happiness. Even after all the time these two have been together, they are still going the extra mile to make sure the other one is happy. For a mate to think this up, map it out and communicate with the artist over a period of months, well……that takes a whole lot more than slapping a gift card in an envelope or grabbing some Kroger flowers. (Neither of those things are bad BTW but you get my point) A gift that maybe says I don’t take you for granted. A gift that shows I know what you love, what makes you happy, and want you to be surrounded by it. Mostly a gift that says, I am paying attention. I got eyes on you ;) That’s love.
Thanks for reading.
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I’m still saying happy new year, cuz I’m hopeful that it will be.
Prints for Good Vibrations are available here : https://www.smithgirlarts.com/products/good-vibrations