Neighbors and Art

 We have lived in 4 different houses since moving to DC. This wasn't planned, of course. Every move has its own backstory. Honestly, it's been expensive and super inconvenient to move so much. One thing about moving is the neighbors you meet. Being a neighbor in DC means you most likely share walls with each other. It's a bit more intimate than your typical suburban neighbor arrangement.I could probably fill a book with all the neighbors we've had and the stories they tell. The couple who lived next door to us on D street, he was a reporter from Spain, and she was from Italy and worked for the UN. One night we went to their house for dinner, and sat down to a 12-layer lasagna her mother who was visiting from Italy cooked that day. I still dream about the lasagna.

Here is a photo of our first condo in DC, at The Car Barn. We lived in a 2 bedroom unit for 18 months. I actually loved it. Forced minimalism. 

We have had some neighbors who have been mean, like the curmudgeon Kevin, who lived next door to us on C street. Some neighbors we have had to warn the kids about, "never go into Dave's house when he asks you to come over and make popsicles".
Our second home, on D Street. The perfect little row house, but we unknowingly (they used an agency to list) rented from a couple who worked for the State Department, and they moved back to DC, so we had to move. This was a sad spot to leave behind. We lived here 10 months. 
We lucked out on a spot a few blocks away on C Street. This was a special house, near and dear to my heart because this is where we weathered the covid pandemic. We made some lifelong friends and formed a very tight community with the neighbors. 
Today was a special neighbor day for me. Our current neighbor is an 82-year-old single woman, Mary. She's fiercely independent but loves to ask my boys to come over and move her furniture- I think she likes putting them to work. Last year she converted her basement into an art studio. At the age of 82 she decided to take up a new hobby in oil painting. She was an art major in college and traveled the world in her late 20's. She's eclectic and different from your average 82-year-old woman. I love her.
This afternoon she asked me if I would come over with some of my current pieces of art and "talk art". Ummmm yesss... I couldn't wait for 1:00. As soon as I arrived she showed me all of her recent oil paintings, mostly portraits. My work is brightly colored and whimsical, while hers is dark, shadowy, and dramatic. She had prepared an entire layout of her process for me to see. She sat up two chairs for us to chat among the paint and brushes. I was sitting in her inner sanctum, her refuge, and I knew it.
I walked away from our conversation inspired. Here she is at 82 learning an entirely new skill set- a hard one too. She focused heavily on her growth, showing me pieces from the start of her journey compared to now. We have set up a time in 2 weeks for another "art talk" in her studio. ❤ 
I will keep you posted on how our future "art talks" go. 

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