Tuesday, April 26, 2022

A Deep Regret Amongst Blessings


This is a painting entitled, "Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine" done by a Tallahassee Artist named Stewart Riordan. Last night I discovered via Facebook that she had died and it rather rocked me, even though I haven't seen her in years. I would never say that she had been a best buddy but whenever we saw each other, we always had good chats and I've always thought her artwork was phenomenal. 
She carried that generally male name, Stewart, with such aplomb. It's not unusual for southern women to get what are thought of as male names. And the truly funny thing is, she had the girliest voice you ever heard, and her appearance was nothing but feminine. She often wore flowers in her hair. Her art, like Stewart herself, was at once intensely womanly and fiercely powerful. She mixed some of her own pigments with things like the red dirt which surrounds us here. She was supremely ethereal and radically grounded. 


When I was pregnant with Lily and feeling like and LOOKING like the largest land mammal, I ran into Stewart and she asked me to pose for her. I, because I am a product of our culture as much as anyone, said no, I couldn't, and now I am realizing that this is one of the biggest regrets of my life. 


The Tallahassee Democrat did an article about her in 2015 which can be found here. 

I think the world was better off for her being here and is the poorer for her death. She sure is leaving a lot of the magnificence she personally created and I am certain she is being grieved by many. She was always one of the cool kids. The coolest of the cool. 


That's her there, in the very center. And in a side note- the man on the left was one of Jessie's elementary school teachers. We loved him. 

I thought about Stewart all day as I ran my errands in town. I also got to have lunch with Lily and Rachel which was lovely. I am so lucky to have such women in my life. Such fine, strong, amazing women. 

Damn, I wish I'd let Stewart paint me. 

Love...Ms. Moon



34 comments:

  1. You did the best you could at the time. I often remember that when I regret something I didn't do and wish I did. Or did and wish I didn't. She really could paint.

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    1. Yeah. They always say that we regret the things we didn't do more than the things we did. Personally, I don't feel that way but in this case- the "didn't do it" regret is strong.

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  2. she no doubt would have painted you magnificently! Lovely, her work
    Susan M

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  3. Obama's mother was named Stanley.
    And the only female Maurices I've ever heard of-- human or feline-- were southern gals.

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    1. It's a funny thing- this giving masculine names to females. People perceive the south as regarding women as delicate little flowers but in all actuality, I think that southern women are more accurately known for the "steel" part, rather than the "magnolia."

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    1. my heart breaks for you both, Dianne. I hope you have family, friends and support that will be able to help you through this difficult time ahead. Love to you, and strength. Not much consolation, but I am keeping you both in my heart
      Susan M

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    2. thank you, susan m, we do have some support. Your well wishes for us mean a lot...a connection somehow brought by the powers that be.

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    3. So sorry you and your Beloved are going thru this very difficult time. Caregiving is never easy and it's scary to have to do things we are not confident about providing. Virtual Hugs... and calling upon Good Karma to bring you and he, some comfort and strength.

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    4. I just hate to hear this but if that's what he needs- it's what he needs. I can honestly understand why he feels diminished and depressed. My husband would and I would feel the same way myself! I got an email today from a woman who said that she wished she could relate a story from her family about this. I am going to ask her permission to anonymously quote her. Although it is a very different situation, it is also a different angle on how we view these things. And I'd like to say that Bohemian has it right- it is not easy and also scary, being called to do things for loved ones that we aren't confident in doing. The good news there is that you will learn. You are loving your husband in a different way when you take on these acts. At least, that is how I see it. I send my deep respect and love to you both.

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  5. I love that first painting. It reminds me of the Dixie Chicks, I'm not ready to make nice.

    I wouldn't have sat for a painting when I was pregnant either, or even when I wasn't pregnant. Now I would. It's strange that my body is the worst it's ever looked and I'm fine with that now. Maybe we need to find a painter who wants to paint women of a certain age:)

    I will if you will.

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    1. Ah. If someone ASKS me to pose and I like their art, I will do it! How's that?

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  6. I so admire a woman who knows her voice and uses it, and enriches the world with it.

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    1. Stewart sure as hell knew her voice and she sure as hell knew how to do it.

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  7. I wish you'd allowed this amazing Artist to Paint you too. I'm so sorry to hear of the Loss, her Art will be her Rich Legacy that people will enjoy and why I think Artists become Immortals in many ways... their Essence being infused in their Art.

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    1. Absolutely, Bohemian. You are completely correct and direct in that thought.

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  8. I googled everywhere I could think of to google but there are no death notices anywhere. Maybe there is still a chance for you to model for her...

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    1. I think that the local paper will probably save that for Sunday.

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    2. dang, I had my fingers crossed do hard- "your baby ain't sweet like mine" is everything! I could not love that more!

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  9. Thank you for bringing her to my attention. I really love the picture of the nude back with the pearls and the chains. How that does speak!

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    1. I have been trying to find that painting. I would love a print. Do you know what the name of it is?

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  10. I wish you'd let Stewart paint you too. what an amazing picture that would be.

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    1. It would be such an incredible thing to have.

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  11. I would regret that too but then I probably would have let her paint me.

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    1. You probably would have! Which is one of the many reasons I love and respect you so.

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  12. My God her art is powerful! Why don't we all know her name? Thank you for introducing her to me here. I am often humbled by the extraordinary talent that can sometimes go all but unnoticed in the larger world. I swear, Stewart should have been hailed as one of the great masters. Perhaps she will be, yet. I think she would have done you justice.

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    1. She did show in NYC a few times, I think. She told me once that they thought she was a hoot in the art scene up there with her voice and her accent. It amused her greatly. I agree with you though- she should be hailed as a master. I mean- my LORD!

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  13. Wow was she talented!!!! I appreciate that all the more so because I don't have an artistic bone in my body! And yes, I bet you wish you'd posed for her! What a shame you missed out!

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    1. I do wish I had. Besides not being brave enough, I was probably way too busy at the time to even consider it. Still. I should have done it.

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  14. https://thehokumhighrollers.bandcamp.com/track/your-baby-aint-sweet-like-mine

    I love this New Orleans street band...this is their "your baby aint sweet like mine". Thought you might like it

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    1. I loved it! Thank you! I would not doubt that Stewart got her inspiration from that song.

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  15. I love Stewart's artwork! Such amazing, thought-provoking and evocative paintings. Definitely not "sofa art"! I think my favorite might be the woman on the beach with the seagulls. Love those blue toenails.

    Jessie's elementary school teacher looks quite adorable!

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Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.