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.