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8/31/13

On the trip home from the grocery store today, my husband and I were discussing the new technology of wrapping motor vehicles in graphics. I was suddenly reminded of the first time I met an artist.

I was 7 years old and living in Newton, Massachusetts.

One sunny Saturday morning, I found a neighbor sitting on the curb in front of his house, painting the side of a taxi. Before decals and computers, all business names and phone numbers were hand painted onto a vehicle. Well, there he was, without a stencil, carefully stroking each letter with a soft, pointed brush. His arm swooped up and down applying the paint, then sideways and down into the small jars of color. It was much like watching a conductor leading an orchestra in a piece of classical music.

This intrigued me. His hand was so steady. His concentration so intense. I watched for quite some time, until my inquisitive little-child presence drove him to shoosh me away.

Before this, I had never seen another person paint. I did not know that you could do something so fun and do it even on the side of a car. My paint-by-number sets were no longer interesting. I asked for, and received, my first real art supplies, including oil paints, shortly after this incident.

I still enjoy watching another artist paint. To watch his or her process, often so different than my own, is like watching a mystery unfold. I never grow tired of it.

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