Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mrs. C. C. Beasley, Artist

Dan was a fireman in the county where we grew up. My friend since childhood, he knows something of my interests, and called me after being summoned to put out a small kitchen fire. He gave me directions to a rural house and promised the trip would be worth my time.

That's how I came to meet Mrs. C. C. Beasley, artist. She lived alone in a small wooden house with a tin roof and a dirt yard she swept with a homemade broom.

Quiet and soft-spoken, she was obviously pleased by my interest in the way she had enhanced her environment. It was not yet spring, so nothing was growing, but that she was a gardener was apparent by all the planters on her porch and around the yard. Each planter, whether terracotta, a cast iron washpot, a galvanized metal tub or black plastic containers from the nursery, was individually dotted, dabbed or striped with paint. Colored Christmas lights were strung along the top edge of her porch, and on the floor below them was an arrangement of animal figurines, a doll in a basket and a plastic Santa Claus - what some might call an installation. Even a large quartz rock at the base of her shade oak was done in dots and drips.

When I asked if I could take her picture, she chose to hold an iron tine from an old piece of farm equipment, which she had also decorated with a declaration: "Painted by Mrs. C. C. Beasley Born Apr. 1909." Artist.

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