Mar 27, 2017


How does it happen, where does the trust come from ? What corner or crevice of the human psyche allows for such magnified intimacy amongst strangers ?

How many steps in the narrow bridge from random meeting to realized commitment ? What congress of emotions creates the space for strangers to agree on a work of art ?

What combination of an arbitrary meeting and prescribed destiny bring two strangers together who then agree on a commission for a work of art interpreting a treasured afternoon at the side of the Pacific Ocean in Playa Coronado in Panama?

How does one stranger hand over the artifacts and the memories, 
and shares the backstory ?

How does one stranger receive and care with skill, talent, love and expertise, and then weeks later renders a canvas filled with love, tenderness, perfect colors and arrangement ? 

How does this happen ? 

Although I will never fully know and understand how this process and exchange of trust manifest itself, I love the participation in the exchange of certainty, the creative process, and especially imaging the possibilities.  

I love for the ability to allow license for absolute creative interpretation; the accomplished artist in control, their creativity and signature, forever a part of a weekend afternoon of so long ago.

A few weeks ago I handed a box of shells to SusanFitzgerald, a local Jacksonville artist and asked her to paint THE SHELLS.  I shared with Susan how I came to have this collection of shells, I explained in detail the afternoon with my Dad at Playa Coronado in Panama.

I accounted for his labored steps, his careful review of each shell we spotted, our collective decision which ones we kept, which ones would be part of our memories of that wonderful afternoon by the sea in Panama. 

My DAD knew how much I loved the water, the ocean, the breeze, especially being there with him. I know that afternoon he made an effort, he was not well at that time.  

Even though I was his adult daughter, that day, that afternoon, those steps we shared in the sand, the child in me was front and center. He held onto my hand,  when we stopped to look at a shell, it was always a careful review, almost  clinical.  

Not many words were spoken, the silence allowed for the music to be heard, the wind, the waves, the beating of our hearts.

Why did we walk the beach that day ? Did I know that 2 years later my DAD would die ? Did I know that 16 plus years later, I would have the shells in my mind and heart. 

Did I know I would guard and keep the shells in a simple glass vase, year after year, day after day, the shells with me, in Vista, CA, then at my desk in Atlanta, then at my house in Atlanta, then in the same vase in Jacksonville. The shells always guarding and protecting the hallmark of that precious, sunny hot, tropical afternoon in Panama.

I also provided Susan the family portrait we took in Carlsbad, CA in 1988. I wanted her to see and know all the children, and especially that DAD for many years was Father and Mother.  

I shared with Susan, that he absolutely loved his children and cared for us dearly, dearly.  She knew he was a surgeon, a dedicated surgeon, I provided some detail on our life in the US and how DAD moved back to Panama after he retired.  And that was about it.  Over the phone we agreed on a price, we then met in a parking lot at the St. John Town Center and I handed over the shells. 

Yesterday I got the painting - ! ! ! 

Thanks Susan, thanks so much for the beautiful representation and celebration of all that the shells mean to me. 

I will enjoy them everyday, every time I look at them, every time I get to share the story, thanks thanks thanks !  

Susan titled the painting, Father's Love. 

There is much more to share about the shells and why she painted the ones she did and how they are arranged. I will provide updates in future posts.