Monday’s meeting with Claudia was at ten in Holmby Hills, a very exclusive section of Los Angeles. The homeowner wouldn’t be there, so Wendy could share her ideas with Claudia without someone listening in. Wendy met her in front of the house.
Once inside the living room impressed Wendy with the magnificence of the space. The living room and dining room were done in off white with gold inlay on the drawers of the cabinets. The drapes were a shimmering soft gold, a wonderful softness prevailed.” Beautifully decorated. You did all this?” Wendy asked as she turned around to face Claudia.
“Yes, I did.”
Claudia opened the sliding door and showed Wendy the patio just next to the living room. Wendy stepped outside. “I love this patio and especially with the semi-covered overhead. Plenty of light for the plants but only touches of sun came through. I can already picture a camellia bush,” Wendy commented as she looked around the area. “Some fantastic possibilities.”
“I thought you’d like it. Go ahead and draw it. I measured the area as 14’x18’. Claudia headed back inside, and Wendy stood on the patio making a quick sketch. Wendy wrote down the size so she could put it to scale at home.
Pulling her tape measure out of her purse Wendy marked the width of the living room door opening. She also measured the distance from the door opening on one side and did the same on the other side of the opening. This would help her decide what size plants to place outside the living room wall.
After agreeing to connect with Claudia in a few days, Wendy drove home. In her study she took her architectural ruler and started the sketch. It looked so different when she saw it to scale. Now, she could better visualize how it might appear and the possible placement of some furniture and plants. At five-thirty, Wendy started to get dressed for the art museum. It was a warm October, so she wore a lightweight pair of purple hip huggers with white dots. The scoop neck top matched the bottoms. The fluffy shoulder sleeves straightened out at the elbow. She looked in the mirror and realized how much she liked the additional makeup she now used. The dark eyeliner with black mascara made her hazel eyes pop out, big and brilliant. With the exercises she did and by maintaining a reasonable diet, she finally had confidence as a desirable, sexy woman. She never thought she would be able to say that about herself. Wendy drove to the Painter’s Art Museum on Pacific Avenue in Playa del Rey. Thank goodness for valet parking because the street parking was full. There were many small shops along Pacific Avenue and crowds of people walking about.
Wendy approached the concrete walkway leading to the art museum. On the left was a large patio area with tall tables set up with snacks and wine. Wendy by-passed the patio and walked toward the entrance and took the two steps up. The inside was crowded. Wendy looked around but didn’t see Elliott. She moved toward the back of the room and found a large room to the right, separated into small spaces to display different types of art. Elliott stood nearby, talking to someone. He looked incredible in blue jeans and a floral shirt, open necked, and a black vest over the shirt. His wavy brown hair, fell just below his neck. She figured he must be about five foot nine or ten.
“Hi Wendy,” he said as he came toward her. “So glad you came.”
“Thanks. I’m impressed,” she said as she viewed the different paintings on the two walls near her.
“My work is in the next space over. Do you want to see it now?”
“Love to.” She followed Elliott to where he pointed out his two watercolors.
She was locked in a moment of silence. “Elliott, these are extraordinary. You have tremendous talent.”
“Thanks. Nice of you to say that.”
“No, I mean it. These are wonderful.”
A river ran in the middle of the picture. The soft blue color gave the appearance of a moving river, so very real. The stately trees with low bushes and rocks along the shores were so very real looking. She looked closer and the details astounded her. The second painting, a mountain scene with snow-capped trees and hills, also impressed Wendy. The ground was covered in snow, but the stream below still seemed to flow.
“How did you get the ripples in the water to look so real?”
“It’s a matter of the right stroke, kinda hard to explain.”
“Wow! I can see myself in both of those places. Your work stirs my imagination.”
He blushed and Wendy hoped she didn’t embarrass him with her overly enthusiastic response.
“Hi Carl,” Elliott said as a man came to him.”
“Wendy, this is a friend of mine, Carl. Those paintings next to mine are his.”
“Hi, nice to meet you. She turned to see his work. “Beautiful use of color.”
“Care to see some of the other art?” Elliott asked Wendy.” Sure.” See you in a bit,” Elliott said to Carl. Wendy and Elliott strolled to another small area filled with all kinds of paintings.
“Elliott, these artists are so talented. I’m sure all the paintings took a great deal of time to do with all the detail. How long did it take for you to paint each of yours?”
“It’s pretty hard to measure the time. I stop and start a lot, but…maybe two months.” He smiled down at her. “There’s going to be a party here at nine when the art show closes. Would you like to stay for it?”
Wendy glowed. “Thank you. Sounds like fun.” Her eyes glowed at the unexpected invitation.
“Good. Listen, I was going to take a break and grab something to eat first. I’ll ask Carl to answer any questions people might have while I’m gone. I’ve worked on shows with him for years. He knows my work. Want to join me and then we’ll come back for the party.”
“I’d like to. I’m a bit hungry myself.”
They walked down the block to a fish restaurant and were seated within minutes. The waiter set the water down and they perused the menus.
“Wendy, tell me about yourself. I’m sorry I don’t mean about your personal history I mean about your nursery. How did you come up with the design?”
He sounded a little nervous to Wendy, but so was she.
“I jotted down what I saw in my head. I just visualized it and then created it.”
“What made you want to open a nursery?”
“I love plants and nature as a whole, like your paintings. You seem to like nature too.”
“I do. A long time ago I used to backpack. Beautiful scenery wherever I went. One time I went with the Sierra Club to Ojai. I never realized such beauty existed there. We walked paths where the same stream followed us, or we followed it, totally breathtaking. I backpacked at Sequoia National Park and walked around the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympia National Park in Washington State. They were all inspiring…I was drawn to the idea of making scenery look alive, as real as I could.”
Such soothing speech, just like he described the scenery. He wanted his paintings as real as Wendy wanted some of the nursery to look like forest scenes she saw in the books she studied. “Sounds like beautiful trips.”
“They were. I will always remember them in my head, but I also took some pictures that I put into an album.
They ordered and talked about their interest in the creative arts.
Wendy couldn’t stop staring at Elliott. He not only looked great, but as he spoke she savored his wonderful enthusiasm. They ate and headed back to the art museum. Outside the high tables and food were gone. Once inside Wendy and Elliott mingled with artists he knew.
“Wendy, this is Tom Schneider, a portrait painter.”
“Hi, Tom. Elliott showed me some of your work upstairs. Your portraits are so real. You capture facial expressions wonderfully.”
“Well, thank you. I’m glad you appreciated them.”
They moved to another group where they visited with other artists whose work was also on display. The different approaches the artists used and how they decided what they wanted to paint intrigued Wendy. Not much different from when she decided where to place the different plants. She pictured where they would look their best.
As the evening wound down Elliott asked, “Would you like to come by my place, I’d love for you to see some other paintings I have there, if you aren’t too tired?” Wendy’s mind said, ‘Don’t unravel,’ but out loud, “I’d love to see them.” Wendy got into her car and followed Elliott to his apartment, just ten minutes away.
“Sorry, the place is a bit messy,” he said as he picked up newspapers lying on the floor.
“It’s fine,” she uttered as she looked around at the nicely decorated living room.
“Want a drink?”
“White wine if you have some.”
“No problem.” He went into the kitchen and returned with two glasses. They sat next to each other on his loveseat and sipped the wine.
Wendy looked at the walls. “So, all these paintings on the walls are ones you did?” “They are, but over a period of years.”
“You’re very prolific.” She stood up with her wine and stepped to the wall in front of her. She saw such depth to each of them.
He joined her. “It’s kind of hard to appreciate them with so many crowded together. I wanted to show more at the museum, but two were the maximum this time. I showed three paintings there in the past and sold all of them.”
“How wonderful. Maybe someone will buy the two there now.”
They carried their drinks back to the loveseat. As they sat down Elliott surprised her. “You’re a very kind person.”
That compliment took Wendy off guard, her face paled. “So nice of you to say.” She humbly asked, “What makes you say it?”
“You have a sweet disposition and the way you share your impressions of the art is very moving to me as an artist. I think we appreciate each other’s talents.”
Wendy realized how right he was, and how much she appreciated, not only his words, but him. She knew from his art, his backpacking adventures, and their conversations that he showed a refreshing attitude and kindness.
They sipped and continued to talk until he held her hand in his.
Although stunned Wendy focused on their hands together. He put their glasses down, turned her to him pulling her closer. Clasping her tightly, Wendy relished the electrifying kiss they shared. As their lips parted, Elliott pulled away and rose as he took Wendy’s hand and moved to his bedroom. It took little time getting undressed and crawling onto the bed. The lovemaking was slow, but replete.
When they separated Wendy pushed strands of his hair behind his ear. In bed, they talked about how similar they were with their need to create, to express their inner thoughts and feelings.
As Wendy put her clothes back on, they talked about getting together again. Elliott put his arms around her shoulder and gave her a quick kiss. “Your hazel eyes are beautiful.”
She blushed, “Thank you so much.”
Elliott smiled at her and stroked her cheek.
When ready, Elliott walked her to the door, opened it where they kissed goodnight.
As she drove home, the world swirled around her. She recognized how proud she was of herself that such a talented and amazing man found her interesting. So wonderful that he liked nature as much as she did. She hoped he’d be the someone she could really connect with and develop a meaningful relationship.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish