In the spring that year I had the opportunity to go to Russia with an art group from Seattle. It was the beginning of Glasnost. A person whose name was Walsh had organized the friendship games in Seattle and he and the Russian premier who had the birthmark on his forehead, worked out all the sticky details and in so doing became friends. And so he helped iron out all the difficulties that arose around our art tour.
We had an interpreter\docent who had to take us everywhere but we had more freedom than the time before we visited Russia. In a previous blog I told you about my difficulty when I wanted to go to the theatre that showed Eugene O'Neill's play 'Desire under the Elms'. I knew the play by heart and the language did not bother me. I enjoyed the emotions that were stimulated by the superb acting. We visited many painters in their studios and we even got to go down to see the art that was in storage at the museums. We visited Moscow, St Petersburg, and Tiblisi, Georga. And as a dividend we visited Chekov's home and a couple of other writer's houses. It was a wonderful trip.
This was all told you as a preview of what happened with Ray Carver. The same year when the 4th of July came about, we had a party on the beach and Tess and Ray were invited. Ray was not well. Ray asked about my trip to Russia. I told him that I felt that the trip had affected my painting. He said he would like to see in what way. I said that he could see it when they were on their way back home, for the walk back up to our house seemed like waisted energy on his part. He said No, I want to do it now. And so we struggled up to my studio and I showed him what I had accomplished since my return. He was very complimentary and agreed there was a new strength in my paintings. And then we went back down to the beach.
Next morning the phone rang and it was Ray. He wanted to know who arranged the trip to Russia. I gave him the details and also gave him the travel agent who had been in charge. Unfortunately, these bodies of business only worked with tours and did not work for just a couple. August second Ray died.