“THE NEW HAT”~ Sparhawk painting


 

“THE NEW HAT”

I painted this years ago in one hot humid summer week.  I was exploring me, testing my mettle on 60 desolate acres in the log cabin I’d rented in Blue Ridge mountains alongside Harper’s Ferry, where I feverishly filled canvases with pictures for a gallery I found that said they’d take me, and filled notebooks with words for the bones of a novel, for which the publisher remains unfound.

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I needed a break. Too broke to shop for real (and DC was about 2 hours east), this was the substitute. Okay, imagine with me: speeding off in a fabulous little (Robin’s egg blue) Sunbeam Alpine convertible (my dilapidated old Ford on its last legs) to an unbelievably divine shop (somewhere) and buying a hat! matching the dress! Not a farm hat but one incapable of protecting from wind or rain or bees, simply THE superb bonnet made for late afternoon drinks in an incredibly gorgeous famous old Washington bar with a handsome poet who just phoned he’d be landing his seaplane on the Shenandoah especially to meet me ~~4:30 sharp  ~or thereabouts. Be there! He could only stay til Wednesday. Before which he’d be ripping off said new hat etc. and we would be lost to lust. So here in the picture, rushed home to try it on, all the bits around including the hatbox and tissue it came in, getting ready for my quick dip in the pond then roaring off on the long and dusty trail to my rendezvous. Oh what a life!

Well, I thought about it all week while I worked on this, and the marvelous fantasy embroidered itself in. Big canvas too, about 7 X 4 feet. It went to the gallery in Middleburg,  Virginia where it did not sell.

The following fall I moved west.  The New Hat  went from east coast storage to garage to covering a broken fireplace flue above the mantelpiece in some godforsaken cottage; then across America in moving vans to horse ranches and eventually slotted into the back of a 1974 Chevy & up the mountains of Yosemite.  There, 7  years later on the day before I moved back to the coast The New Hat sold to the Yosemite gallery owner who’d exhibited my work and fallen in love with it. Which happily covered gas and my first month at a fellow artist’s house in Pebble Beach, a room of my own en suite, the smell and sound of the sea, and the sight of the breakers  below. And some sweet romps with an interesting surfer who never read poetry or wrote it, preferred beer to Benedictine, couldn’t pilot a plane, didn’t like being indoors ever but knew how to handle serious waves and me, and did nice work with fish on a campfire, too.

There’s never any telling where a new hat will take you.

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6 thoughts on ““THE NEW HAT”~ Sparhawk painting

    • Thank you, me too, and you know all this time has passed and I was sure I had no picture, couldn’t remember the gallery owner’s name, and just found a print. So glad for your visit and comment, and that you like my work. I had an incredibly good time painting it.

    • Thanks, Oops. I remember the whole experience: painting on the porch in the middle of nowhere, colors flying across the land, and just having fun. The process can be full of sturm and drang in this serious business, nice shift for me. And yes, new hats. I used to wander the fancy floors of NYC department stores and spend hours in the hat departments. I even bought some, when gainfully employed.

  1. What a lovely story, and great colors. I have never been able to choose which move me more … your words, or your paintings. Fortunately for me, I don’t have to choose, as I usually get both. Tourjours amor.

    • How endearing you always are. Let me know the minute you run out of anything, no you don’t have to choose. Hope the long and arduous trials of Big Sur are resolving for you, light at the end of the tunnel on its way. It’ s been an especially rough year, hugs and visions of sugar plums to you.

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