Friday, March 11, 2011

Reclining Nude in Jackson Ward

Picasso has become the lingua franca of Richmond these days, forging a common bond with practically anyone you speak to, friend or stranger.

Rounding the corner to Grace Street today, I all but ran into Tom, a local artist and VCU employee easily recognizable for his aging hippie look: long, white ponytail, beard and twinkling blue eyes.

"Morning, Karen" he greeted me with a big smile. "Have you seen the Picasso exhibit yet?" Twice and craving a third, I told him, launching us into an in-depth discussion of the man, his many wives and muses, his prolificacy and the need for multiple viewings of the show.

As a painter, Tom especially wanted to discuss the enormous pleasure he'd taken from seeing works up close that he'd only previously seen as reproductions in books. "To be able to see the brushstrokes!" he rhapsodized.

We talked about how Picasso's life-long passion for women fueled his continuing creativity well into his nineties. Tom noted that he'd read a study about how one increased the longevity of the other. "An active sex life spurs creativity," he pronounced. Okay, I can see the connection there.

Like many of my friends, the show had made a VMFA member out of him and, honestly, that will be the ultimate lasting value of the Picasso exhibit in Richmond.

After a quarter of an hour of satisfying art chatter, I told Tom I needed to get going on my walk, having already gotten a late start.

"Now that you've seen the exhibit, you should know why I want to paint you!" he called to my back.

I turned around to smile at him. Oh, I understand why.


  1. Objection noted. He's been asking for over a year now.

    Just don't see me as the model type?