I was in awe of a woman named Reina. I had the good fortune of meeting Reina at a meeting of the West End Visual Artists Guild in Long Beach, NY. She was a real stunner! Her short grey hair and gorgeous face and her smooth ways. She was probably old enough to be my mother but I had a secret (not anymore) crush on her. Especially after talking to her about her days as an artist in the 1960’s Greenwich Village. I am intrigued by anything 1960’s and Greenwich Village. I remember going there as a kid with my policeman Dad who for a time worked in the area. When most of my childhood memories are in black & white, my memories of walking with my father down St. Mark’s Place in those days are in vivid color. I wonder if one of those beautiful hippie chicks selling their artwork on the street back then was Reina?! I’m going to say that YES it was.
Reina left us in 2011. She had gallantly battled cancer more than once but finally lost in October of that year. She is missed by many. Before she died I acquired one of her works, which she told me was the “grooviest” piece from those days in the Village. The picture is of a nude figure, embossed and accented with pencil and ink and titled, “Vivian Reclining On A Pillow”. As she handed it to me she said it would bring me good luck. It hangs lovingly in my bedroom.
Fast Forward to September 2012. I enrolled in a drawing class at the Art Students League of New York. My instructor is a wonderful gentleman and amazing painter and sculptor, Richard Barnet, son of the late Will Barnet. During all the numerous sketches and poses I had Reina’s “Vivian” on my mind. I just had to honor her, both Reina and Vivian with a drawing of my own. I improved week after week, but still managed to keep my own style not knowing if it was approved of in the eye of Mr. Barnet. At my home studio I used Vivian’s pose and created my own “Vivian”, and it WAS approved by Mr. Barnet because he chose it to be included in the Art Students League of New York 2014-2015 catalogue which goes worldwide.
Thank you Reina for your friendship and ongoing inspiration.