When I paint great, formal gardens, I taste ‘Raza.’” An art historian from India explained Raza as ecstasy with the sensation of tasting red, ripe, sweet raspberries. Whether in Rome’s Villa Aurelia or in my walled-in garden in Indianapolis, I often taste Raza.
In my garden, I paint a classical statue representing one of the seasons. In the background is a scrolling white wrought iron fence, pink flowers and boxwood hedge. In another painting, I capture a tall antique urn spilling over with pink geraniums. Two horse-head hitching posts pose along the tree-lined street. A summer house is washed with yellow morning light. Early in the mornings, I set up my easel and reflect on the patterns of light and shade on high roofs and stately facades throughout the forested historic Victorian neighborhood with parkways filled with fountains, statues and urns. At noon, the Woodruff Place lion statue is half-shaded. And at dusk, the globed street lights shine through fountain spray.
My artist’s garret is the top floor of the Queen Anne home dating from 1890s. When I moved back into my family home in Woodruff Place after living away in NewMexico and Hawaii, I found slanted walls covered in old wallpaper, cracked from age. I had no running water so I had to carwater up from the basement. Over the next 10 years, I removed old wallpaper, plastered cracked walls and brought up running water into a new bathroom and kitchen. I had no furniture except my easel and one chair. Now, I have white wicker furniture upholstered in Hawaiian-style floral fabric and family antiques. Hawaiian murals from my master of fine arts thesis span one large wall. The dark yellow library and office are decorated in gold and rust fabrics. A Queen Anne highboy, Hepplewhite butler’s desk, a grandfather’s clock, an early 19th century couch, a rocking chair where my great grandmother rocked my grandmother and 19th century family paintings create a handsome meeting place for collectors.
While painting at my easel in a large tower room adjacent to my studio, I can look out over trees, roof tops and flower-filled urns. I listen to water splashing in a fountain. With one brushstroke, I suddenly taste the excitement.