Yesva Model was a wonderful bohemian artist. He was very intelligent. He taught his students how to breathe life into their work. I began working with him at my shrinks recommendation. I loved my shrink. He always had good ideas.
Yesva and his wife lived in the basement of a 6 story apartment building. I stepped through the iron gates and walked past some planted flowers to their doorstep. It was very charming. I knocked on the door and Yesva, a thin man with wild gray hair and sparkley eyes, opened to door into their livingroom. Many benches lined the perimeter of the room which is where we would set ourselves up for class. Many of my friends also took the class each week.
He would set up flowers, fruit and different objects. But the one thing he wanted us to focus on was bringing light into our paintings. It took me awhile to relax and get into this kind of painting. But I did eventually and it turns out my work was pretty good!
I took my work to Columbia University and a professor there LOVED it! But then I took my abstract paintings to Pratt’s architecture department. I didn’t have any designs or anything! I was nervous to meet with them, but confident enough that my work was good…even if it wasn’t blueprints.
Many of the applicants were men and many of those men went to Brooklyn Tech High School and had years of preparatory training before even stepping into Pratt. But my artwork got me in.
There were only 8 women in a class of 180. I felt like a stranger in a strange world. They were talking a language that I hadn’t heard before. It was another level of life’s conversation. I didn’t feel out of place for being a woman. I was too busy diving into the work head first. This was a new world for me and i was hungry for it.
The second day at school a boy named Ford sat down next to me under a tree. He was a Freshman too. He and I became amazing friends and pulled a lot of all nighter’s doing architecture projects. One night a floor monitor caught me in his dorm after hours and kicked me out! Ford died from AIDS years later. I miss him.
Looking back on it, this was a very exciting time for me. Only one of the women and I became friends. Madeline. The first time we met she came over to me in class while I was drawing and said , “Your lines are too thick.” She was direct, that’s for sure. She as also very tall, beautiful and from France. We became great friends. After we graduated she went home to France and was killed in a car accident shortly after.
I felt like the world was not the same for me anymore. It wasnt bad. Just different. It strikes me that life is fleeting and I might never meet anyone again like those two. So far. But there are more wonderful people in my life everyday. And many twists and turns. And at 78 I’m still open for change!