Last spring, a few weeks after Bobbie died, her daughter, aka my only-children-big-sister, brought me 3 boxes of acrylic inks from Bobbie’s huge stash of art supplies. Most were at least half full. I put them on my drawing table and looked longingly at their heavily pigmented colors while working like a maniac on the current projects. I stole an hour one very stressful afternoon and played with the inks on Arches Velin (text wove) paper to recharge my batteries. When I opened the bottles, that smell of her house hit me unexpectedly with a wave of loss. The inks had absorbed her house and delivered it to my own studio. I could only hope Bobbie’s creativity would decant the same way.
Recently, I’ve been helping her family begin sorting through all the artwork, books, art supplies, chachkas, and we’re-not-quite-sure-what objects that have filled her home for decades. That distinctive smell that I associate with some of the happiest times of my life has been stirred up with the chachkas and knick knacks and dust and is now even stronger. – It is augmented with her roommate’s fine cooking as well. – Maybe my ability to perceive the smell is even stronger. Either way, it has become paradoxically precious while simultaneously kicking in my allergies.