Within the first hour I was working on the Bernie Sanders piece, I received a text from my best friend Randy letting me know that the Senator was coming to Monterey in four days. I ended up meeting Bernie after his speech. As I commenced a painting of Andrew Bird, again, I received a message from my clients that he was performing at Mountain Winery in couple of months. It resulted in yet another serendipitous meeting of a hero. When I saw the picture of Greta and Jane lovingly and admirably looking into each other's eyes, it struck many cords. For one, it was reminiscent of the connection I had with my grandmother Rusti. This picture captured the wisdom and love exchanged between old and young. As one woman put it, "passing the torch ". Two remarkable women fighting to make our world a better place. I was inspired to create my next paint chip piece.
As I was working on this piece, I looked up at my computer and saw that Greta was sailing from an emission-free yacht to the United States. What?! Could the universe really be involved in my fate? This piece took several weeks to create and was finally completed when she arrived to New York. But there was no chance of getting to New York to meet her... Besides, it is not the reason I choose to create a work of art, it just happens to be a wonderful consequence of a few so far. A couple weeks later, I learned that Jane Goodall would be giving a talk in San Francisco. This feels like a sign, I've got to go, right?
I nervously drive into San Francisco, GPS not working and I can't find the names or addresses of any of the buildings. So I just pull into the nearest parking structure. I figured I can walk with my painting from there. I gather my things and go up the elevator. When the doors opens, I realize I'm exactly where the event is going to be. Serendipity unfolding. I speak to an event manager about displaying my work for the benefit of Jane Goodall and the Institute.
As I'm patiently waiting for an answer, in walks this old lady with a walker and jet black hair. Her head is adorned with a leather hat you would see on Freddie Mercury and a bright blue feather earring in her left ear. Her mouth concaved from lack of teeth, but her positive energy bubbles out from her heart. We exchange hellos. She stops and comments on the beautiful day. Although perfect strangers, there was no hesitation in the love that we felt for each other. "I'm Rita, and I hope we run into each other again someday," Me too, Rita!! Me too.
Here comes the event manager who coldly tells me that I cannot display my work. I'm hoping the people from the Jane Goodall institute could see my work first before making that decision, but it doesn't look like this manager is wanting to push for me. Although disappointed, I understand and go out front to display my work. An adorable cop makes his way over to me and we start chitchatting. About five minutes later, I am approached by another person from the event staff who tells me I need to pack up my things and leave. This, without any consideration that the attendees were delighted to see me and my painting. The cop is bummed but I am more so. I am told I can't even be on the same block. I make my way down the street with my things and find a little cove to hide in. Another cop comes up to me and smiles. He's happy to see my work too. He gives me permission to stay on the sidewalk as I'm not in the way of anybody. The other cop from earlier came up to me and told me he spoke with the staff so I could stay put. I'm not in front of the building, but near the parking structure entrance where many of the guests will be coming from.
As people are making their way into the building, they stop and admire the piece. After a couple hours of standing outside displaying my work, ego boosted, I decided to pack up and leave. The event had already started and most of the people attending are already inside. Except for my friend Cami. Her and her friend had been searching for parking for 45 min and were late. So I waited for her. She came running with her friend, breathless. They grabbed a print from me to take inside. I'm thankful to Cami for letting me know about this event. I'm thankful for all the people who took the time to stop and appreciate my work. I chalked it up to a good day, but questioned fate and disappointed that the universe may not have been involved.
I carried my easel, paintings and backpack down to the parking structure. I asked the security guard if he can watch my paining as I use the restroom. He's a middle aged Slavic man, cheery disposition who expressed enthusiasm for my work. I use the restroom and accidentally knock off the soap dispenser on the way out. It hits the floor and all the soap comes dripping out onto the floor. So I grab the Slavic man and apologize profusely. He's perfectly fine with it, seemingly happy to be talking with me instead. He expresses his disappointment in the venue for not allowing me to share my work. I appreciate the sentiment.
I walk to the elevator to go to my car. I enter the elevator head down, painting in the bag. When I look up I realize... I'm in the elevator... with a man from the Jane Goodall Institute!! Here it is, my opportunity. I uncover the painting and tell him what I would like to accomplish with it. He's grateful, invites me up with my painting and offers to give me a ticket to hear Jane speak. I can't believe it! I get up to the venue. He introduces me to a woman who is also part of the Institute. She insists on taking a picture of me and my painting and posts it on the Jane Goodall Instagram page. Currently at 28k likes as I write this. She tells me that Jane's greatest teacher was her dog, and her dog... is named... Rusty. They offered to watch my painting and insisted I go watch Jane talk instead of wasting my time out there. Agreed.
I was delightfully incredulous. Suddenly I'm watching Jane give a speech. Had I not waited for my friend Cami, nor had I spilled the soap, I would've never been in the elevator with someone from the Institute. I thought I was about to go home and all of a sudden I'm listening to Jane Goodall speak. She immediately starts talking about her dog Rusty, her greatest teacher. Her voice reflects her gentle and deeply loving soul. I'm in tears.
I leave immediately after her talk to grab my painting as I didn't want the institute to feel responsible for it. The painting is encircled by a group of people from the institute. I go up to them and am nourished by their praises. I share what I'd like to accomplish with the piece, to which the lady in front of me says, "Hi, I am Jane Goodall's personal assistant and marketing director. I'm the exact person you want to be speaking with." The timing of all of this is incredible to me. This was one of the best outcomes I could have had. Now I'm being invited to auction off my work in LA next year for an event they're hosting.
The attendees disperse into the lobby. Many of them stop to appreciate the painting. I run into the people who had initially kicked me out. It felt good. I see the cop, we smile!! He knows I made it in. But then I turn around, and there is Rita. She says, “kid, your energy... I know you’re going to make it!” This is one of the most gratifying reasons for creating art, connecting with people.
When we boil our intentions down to their purest form, we always end up with love.