Monday, June 11, 2012
Me and Flora B
So, when I saw that one very beautiful wallet for available for purchase, I made myself a note for payday. That Friday duly rolled along and I bought it.
The next day, I saw an email from the artist herself, mentioning that she was in Melbourne and she actually had a wallet with her. Would I like to meet and collect it in person, and save on shipping?
The shipping didn't really phase me either way, although receiving the wallet so quickly was a definite bonus. But the thought of meeting the artist in person? I didn't need to think twice about that! It was also a matter of luck that it was a public holiday and that I wasn't working, and that my husband could take care of my little 'un.
Longtime readers of this blog will know that I blossomed during Flora's Bloom True e-course. Her book, Brave Intuitive Painting, has also since become one of my favourite creative resources (and I'd been gutted to miss her Melbourne book launch, due to receiving some sad family news).
And, obviously, given the wallet purchase, it's fair to say that I really love her aesthetic.
So we met, not far from where she was staying. Which also happened to be not far from where I live.
We had coffee. We chatted about painting and life. I convinced her to try an aptly named "delicious" from one of my favourite cafes. We also wandered into a nearby bookstore -- again, one of my favourites for serendipitous art-inspiring discoveries -- and I took the opportunity to introduce her to the life and work of one of my most treasured inspirations.
It was a lovely time but I left reflecting how unusual it had been. I mean, like many of Flora's fans, I feel I know her (or something of her) from following her blog and enrolling in her e-course and watching her in so many paining videos and reading about her techniques/beliefs/passions in her book.
Yet she knew nothing about me. And, of course, being a nice and polite type of person, she did ask a bit about me. But, I came away thinking that I didn't really share much of myself. In fact, I'd kind of jumped on the opportunity to ask her lots of things I was curious about, about her, about the creative process, about painting.
I'm not sure what I was hoping for but I came away feeling a little bad for practically interrogating the poor gal, who may have just been looking forward to a day of exploring Melbourne and not having to "talk shop" to a geeky adoring fan. It was palpable how passionate she was about her life and art, and she certainly didn't seem reluctant to share, but everyone deserves a bit of time out on occasion!
As I write this, I find myself interested in this phenomenon whereby we assume we may know someone intimately through interacting with their online persona. Flora was every bit as lovely and wise and interesting in person as she is on her blog, in her book, during her e-course. She was also candid and generous in sharing her experiences, fears and hopes.
But what I realised is, having experienced all of these things and having met her, doesn't mean that I really know her at all or that I could say that we are friends (even though I liked her greatly).
This makes me curious. About what my expectations were. About what it means to build a friendship. About the varying role that blogs play in cultivating connection (or otherwise). About what it is that I am actually doing here, in this space. Hmmm...