My friend and fellow artist Don Slade died on March 1st and I found out today. He was one of those talented souls who very quietly and with determination worked hard at making art. Humble despite a skilled eye and hand. Drawings so beautifully sensuous and with a knowledge of human anatomy and spirit that comes with a mature hand that has experienced a full world.
He has been one of the members of Williams and Clark Studios since I arrived. There was always time for a little chat in our communal kitchen or lounge where we all retreat from singular work. His soft voice and gentle nature were sure to encourage and support. He provided an atmosphere of calm and didn't ever buy in to the drama that is inevitable in shared artistic work spaces.
His health has been challenging for awhile now and he very reluctantly decided to give up his studio a few months ago. Very sad for all of us there. I was walking down Commercial Drive to pick up my veggies and ran into him a few weeks ago. He saw me while he was driving and turned his car around so he could have a little street visit with me. I hugged him and he hugged me and he told me he missed us all. He was wearing his distinctive big Aussie Drover's hat that kept off the rain.
I guess his last exhalation is shared now with Hugo Chavez and Stompin' Tom Conners who have also just died in the last day or two. I have a feeling Don would be very pleased by that!
There is a celebration for Don's life this Saturday at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. I hope I am well enough to go.