Sandra Zeiset Richardson is my husband's older sister.She was an artist living in Seattle with her husband Stan. Sandy passed away on December 27, 2014, 25 years after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This past weekend we flew to Washington to help with and attend a Memorial Service for her. Stan planned a beautiful service with much of her artwork on display. Around 200 people came to pay their respects and share their memories of Sandy. I was given the task (which was more like a privilege) of assembling 2 binders together in chronological order all of the ephemera associated with her art career. Beginning in the early 1980s with programs from local art shows, newspaper articles advertising shows, photographs and postcards announcing her shows in galleries, various publication which used her her artwork...I got to see the progression of her career, and understand her and and her art in a way I had not before.
The most powerful writings for me to read were her "Artist Statements". When an artist has a show, they usually write a short piece about their motivations and inspirations for the artwork. There were a few sentences from a 2008 show that particularly stood out to me...
"Don't worry about getting it right...color is another thing. Stop with the beige thing. It's your chance to do something creative. Like punctuation, don't worry about getting it right. Same with poetry, with music, start singing..."
When I read "stop with the beige thing", I said YES!!! Sandy was never beige. Her and Stan's home is filled with color and art, her ceramics were colorful, she often wore bright colors and funky earrings. But much deeper than that, Sandy was a risk taker. She decided to be an Artist and became one, she moved to Seattle from Pennsylvania to pursue that goal. Much of her art has political and social justice themes. Yes, at times she was considered "eccentric", (she had a delightfully quirky sense of humor), but the many people who spoke at her Memorial made it clear that she also had a wisdom and love for others that drew people to her. She was able to be be true to who she truly was, and was respected and loved for that.
I am so inspired to live my life like Sandy has. I want to take risks, I want to be brave, I want to live my life as a loving work of art. I will not be afraid of expressing who I am, be it fuchsia or chartreuse, or any and ALL of the colors that exist between black and white. It is my new mantra...STOP WITH THE BEIGE THING!
Thanks for reading, and I promise more thoughts on a more timely basis!
(Sandra Zeiset Richardson's website... http://www.szrichardson.com/)