“Salacia at Rest”
April 28, 2016
Richard Stravitz – Creating “Big Blue” for Old Dominion University
May 24, 2016

Art & How it Speaks to Us


I attended an art opening this past Friday night in the VIBE District of Virginia Beach.  This is an area of the city, just blocks from the ocean, that is being revitalized with new restaurants, coffee houses, breweries, unique boutiques and art galleries.  The Artists Gallery, on Norfolk Ave., is located here and hosts a First Friday Party each month.  Many artists have their studios in this building and you can just feel the creativity bouncing off the walls when you walk in the door.  I spied a painting shortly after walking through the door.  Not only was it calling out to me, it was using a megaphone.  Knowing I don’t have much wall space left I just kept walking…but, I kept walking back to it.

I have two part-time jobs that I love.  One is working several days a week at Stravitz Art Gallery in Virginia Beach and the other is working for a wonderful lady who runs a florist out of her home in Norfolk.  She does weddings, receptions and special events.  I knew her reputation because we both belong to garden clubs that are members of the Garden Club of Virginia.    Shortly after my divorce, I moved into her neighborhood and while out walking one day stopped and talked with her.  I asked her to please call me if she ever needed any extra hands.  Not long after that she did call and brought me on temporarily.  I told her she didn’t have to pay me because I would be learning so much from her.  I was informed that she paid the other four ladies and she would pay me the same.  I later learned she wanted to see how well I worked with the other ladies (her team) and how quickly I could work and my knowledge of flower arranging. That was nine years ago and many, many flower arrangements later I still get excited every time we have an event.  All five of us get along like we are long lost best friends. We know that we are working together for the purpose of making the most beautiful flower arrangements possible because it is someone’s wedding, graduation, birthday, etc., every arrangement must be special.  Everyone knows that anytime you bring that many women together you never know what might happen, but with us it is almost always fun. So that brings me to the almost part…the buckets.

The buckets are very important when it comes to flower arranging.  The cleaner the buckets the better the flowers will be conditioned and the longer they will last.  After the flowers have been decided upon and picked up or delivered from the suppliers they have to be conditioned in the buckets.  This means the buckets have to be scrubbed and washed out with a strong antibacterial solution, such as Clorox.  We normally use between 30 to 40 buckets for an event and the buckets have to be cleaned after each use.  After cleaning, the buckets are filled with some water and a solution called Quick Dip, this helps the just cut stems soak up the water better.   So, now the buckets of flowers are ready to be loaded into the cars to take to wherever the event is taking place. We have many, many memories of loading and unloading these buckets filled with beautiful flowers.  We had one rehearsal party, after rehearsal party, bridesmaid luncheon, wedding and reception in Duck, NC, which required many more buckets of flowers than we normally use.  We had been told we could unload the buckets at the venues where the events were taking place, but found out otherwise after arriving.  So, now the buckets were going to stay in the cottage with us overnight.  After arriving at the cottage we discovered the air conditioning wasn’t working on the first two floors.  This meant that the buckets of flowers had to be unloaded carried up the stairs to the third floor and back down in the morning and once again loaded into the cars.  We went to sleep with aching backs thinking about these buckets.
The painting I kept coming back to Friday night, was a painting of these same white buckets we use for every event filled with beautiful flowers.  To make it even better, they were under a big beach umbrella and there are not many things I enjoy more than sitting on the beach under an umbrella.  I am at the age where I have very few needs, but I still have wants and very little wall space.  The painting went home with me that night and on Saturday I went from room to room trying to find a home for it. I wanted it to be in a place where I could see it often, because of the memories past and future it holds for me.  It has ended up in my breakfast room, but I had to do away with another painting.  One of my children will once again benefit from this decision. 
Sometimes paintings just call out to us.  Each time I look at this painting it will bring wonderful memories of the ladies I work with and the lady I work for.  Thank you, Sally Cade, for painting this painting, you had no idea what you were creating when you did it.  It has found a good home.
I encourage everyone reading this to visit local art galleries and art shows and take home something beautiful and memorable.