Thoughts by Arnold Ronning
If you are one of our nearly 4,000 visitors to the 20th Annual Mother's Day Studio Tour this May, I would like to thank you very much for making this special event a success. Everyone with whom I have spoken had a very special and successful year, and YOU, our visitors and patrons, are the reason why.
One of the paintings I sold was "Cherries in a blue bowl", and I would like to share the story behind this picture. In 2015, one of the Camano Arts Association's active members died suddenly of a cardiac arrest. His name was John Delzell, and his studio was on Southeast Camano Island. (You can visit his website here: http://www.johndelzellart.com/
I had taken a five-day course on drawing with John in 2007 after having been inactive in art for quite some time. John was so easy-going and approachable, and so remarkably youthful in appearance and behavior. When I heard he'd died at the age of 58, I was shocked. John left behind a widow, Jenna, and an adopted daughter. At his memorial service, I recall thinking, "John, if you can hear this, I understand that I can't put off doing art any longer. We don't know how many days we have on this Earth. I have no right to ask this, but if you're able, I need help to overcome my inertia." It was only a few months later that I started painting with an intensity that I'd not experienced since my youth. Again, just a few months later, John's widow contacted me and asked me if I wanted to buy some blank canvases and art supplies that he'd left behind. It was more than she could use. I agreed. Shortly before buying the blank canvases, however, I had a dream that I was visiting John in his studio for some advice. We talked for a while, then I had to leave. As I packed up my pictures and loaded them into the car, I noticed one of them did not belong to me. It was a small canvas with a blue bowl of cherries. "This isn't mine. Is it yours?" Yes, John acknowledged that it was one of his, and I returned it to him.
When I went to look at the art supplies for sale, among them were several small canvases, only 6 x 6 inches. I had never painted anything quite that small, but bought all three anyway. The very first thing I painted on John's old canvases was "Cherries in a blue bowl". (You might be hearing the theme to THE TWILIGHT ZONE right now.) Thanks, John. Someday we will make more art together.