Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More on painting

Maureen and I had had a long time of admiration from a distance. She was a gorgeous woman who had at one time been involved in Hollywood. She was an accomplished swimmer and had won many honors in College and the powers in Hollywood had decided to train her for one day taking over from Esther Williams who was not getting younger. That kind of picture with huge casts and imposing money outlays for the studio suddenly became passe and Maureen married a man who had kicked a football longer than anyone else in the yearly in New Years Pasadena Spectacle. Both of them became models and then moved to Diablo and became our neighbors.

Anna, our daughter who was 10 was extremely shy and Sam and I decided a horse would give her not only good posture but also a good feeling of who she was. Maureen gave her lessons in horsemanship. Anna could not ride her horse outside our property before getting her graduation papers from Maureen. This has been a long intro into my association with Maureen.

We formed a loose business deal and rented a building in Danville. We called it DIABLO DESIGN CENTER. It was located between Dr Blemers office and the local cinema. It was an old building with lots of charm. It was covered with cascading flowers. Peter Blos who lived in Berkley was happy about not having to drive to Burlingame and agreed to teach in what became my Art School and with a name like his we also lured four or five other well known painters to a come out to Danville. It was a success from day one. I bought twelve easels and signed up twelve students for most of the classes. (many drove from Burllingame). I kept one day for teaching a beginners class. A friend built a model stand and Peter brought his own lighting equipment. I want you to remember the name Blemer for it recurs in 1983 after we had moved to Port Angeles.

You may think I was well on my way to becoming rich. I painted the flowers that covered our building and sold it almost at once. I also fabricated a construction of old sewing machine parts and named it Mary and the child. A big horse owner saw it and bought it even though I had put a ridiculously high price on it for I wanted to keep it. He hung it in his elegant tack room
Maureen who was an architectual designer was busy designing a home bought all my mistakes in painting a loaf of Wonderbread. The man who sold the company the new type of paper used in the bread wrap wanted me to paint a loaf, sitting on red velvet. I accepted his offer and the price he was to pay me. I bought the bread and the velvet and a piece of Brie cheese and a bottle of red wine and proudly showed him what I had created. He threw up his arms and said 'I want a loaf of bread on red velvet and nothing else.' (he was Gilbert's baseball coach') And so every monday I bought a loaf of bread and began a new painting. Our children were not allowed to eat that kind of soft white bread so I usually just stood there after another failure and made the bread into a factory building with a river in the foreground and skyscrapers in the distance. Or I made it into a luxurious sofa with a teen slouching on it. There were many weeks of failures. Finally I said 'I cant make it'.

But Maureen bought every one of the failures. Since she knew they were supposed to be a Wonderbread she did not pay much for them. She had all of them framed in very expensive frames and when I saw them years later I think she got away with a coup


musingegret said...

That is a hilarious story about all the Wonderbread failures. Keep all the stories comin' Ms. Svensto, they're getting better'n better!

Anonymous said...

So glad you're back on a regular basis!!