The Countess and Her Doors

Nov 6, 2010 | Blog

Saphire Door Blog picThere are some wildly creative people that are a part of my world; intelligent, kind and sensitive too. As I step into conversation with you I find I want to introduce you to some of them.  I am not sure how these people would feel about that or when it is appropriate to use their names.  I will have to look into that.  As the story I would like to tell today centers around one of my more colorful friends and I am not sure yet what is best, I will refer to her by her title, “the Countess of Gerfalco.”  She is indeed an Italian countess, very well traveled and absolutely charming. Over the last decade or so we have become very good friends, the kind of friends that can talk about every little thing, authentically, honestly and even without make up.
We met years ago when my art ran from fine art to murals to faux wall finishes. I was a Tibetan Buddhist nun willing to take on just about any artistic project; she was this intensely creative, intelligent, worldly countess. We hit it off famously.  We worked on many, many projects together. I consulted on her ideas and would ultimately execute them but it was her ideas that made it so fun.  The dome ceiling of her office is a mystical skyscape with moons and starbursts in purples and blues.  Gold leafed and hand painted Tibetan scroll designs on the wall around a small altar. The countess and I have collaborated on many of her doors. Our first project was a door on the outside of her home that she wanted to visually disappear.  We decided to match the pattern and color and texture of the brick and carry it across the door. It was fantastic.  The door virtually disappears!
As the Countess and I have become friends and my focus has turned more fully to my fine art projects, she is the only client for whom I still pull out my tools.  Her projects are compelling.  Every detail of her home is a piece of art.  Every color and every texture is considered from every angle, down to the finest details.  I would call her sense of style and design impeccable. It certainly speaks to me.  There are beautiful little moments all throughout her home, moments that delight and comfort and soothe.
So when she said that she was remodeling and she had this fabulous idea for her doors and that I was the ONLY person who could possibly pull this off, I was hooked.  Now, I am not so silly as to think that I am the only one that could pull this off but I am definitely the one who gets to try.  She explained what she wanted; not at all sure how to make it happen, I set off to do my research.  What I was sure of, if she could imagine it, somewhere in the world was a way to make it happen.
One afternoon this week, I had brought the Countess sample boards with the colors and a variation of special effects designed to create a bit of flash.  Not sure if I had nailed it, I was a bit apprehensive.  Shy may be a better word, when you are talking creative ideas there is not a clear linear definition, the language of creativity is abstract.  We had shared the idea in words but now, with the sample boards, we would have a visual context.  She loved it. I am not going into the details of how the little bits are coming together for these doors, I will say they are coming together and both the countess and I are excited. I actually began this tale to share with you a moment I found myself literally marinating in joy.
While I was there, I had agreed to revisit another project I had done years ago, her front door.  The original project was pretty straightforward; a solid wood door with raised panels surrounded by a smooth wood frame set against very textured peach color bricks. She wanted this simple entryway to have more pizzazz.  Of course she did.  She chose a solid color finish that was a pearlescent sapphire blue violet. I wish I had the skill to describe in words the crazy rich depth of this color.  The color has dimension and flashes from blue to purple with the changing light, picking up reflections of the colors around it, simply marvelous. The door needed a bit of touch up.  I was there prepared to bring the finish back to its magical brilliance.
As I set up on the back deck, it was late afternoon, the sun brilliant against Sedona’s red rocks.  The temperatures have been moderate. Sweat pants and a light sweater, I was very comfortable.  After careful prep of the surfaces I began to paint. I used a brush for the raised areas and a fine foam roller for the larger flat surfaces; brush strokes are unacceptable for this pearlescent finish. I challenged myself to create the very smoothest finish to capitalized on the best possible play of light across the surface.
In this simple moment I became intensely aware of my joy. I was relaxed, comfortable, at play.  I was in the familiar company of a great friend, in this beautiful land that draws four to five million tourists a year, the weather divine.  I am on the deck of a mature, creatively inspired garden, with the company of several cats always curious about what I am up to when I am there.  I see the sun setting against this incredible landscape. I am drinking water from a fresh spring in the canyon, the music of Annie Lenox dances through the air as I am dipping my brush into a glowing pot of liquid pearls in my very favorite color, blue violet. I became exquisitely aware of the beauty around me.  I invited it in, I let it touch me. I thought to share this moment with you.
In gratitude, may all beings find joy.
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