Her castle on the mountain

October 8, 2008
On my way to art class in the Guilford art center. I was excited to learn, but nervous about my work at the same time. After I went in, and introduced myself to all the other high school students, our teacher popped in, she couldn’t have been more than four and a half feet tall. She was wearing a paint splattered one piece overall suit, and her wild hair was thrown over her shoulder in a mass of curls. Her squeaky voice peeped out from underneath her excessively magnified glasses. “Hello class, I am Joan Levy, your art teacher!”
She taught us how to draw the perspectives of objects in space. Every week we would learn another way of looking at an object, and interpreting it. We used clear objects in drawing, boxes, and even glasses full of water. Until one class, after I had washed the charcoal off my hands, she approached me. “Hello Bryan, I was just telling the class while you were cleaning off your hands that I am holding a private drawing session at my house in Killingworth. It would be great if you could make it.” She handed me a folded up piece of paper that had directions to her house written on it. She lived far in the heart of the woods in Killingworth. I decided that I would go for a few minutes and see what it was all about.
That Saturday morning I jumped in the car and drove to her house, however it was further away than I had assumed. The house was in the middle of the woods, surrounded on three sides by a gargantuan lake. A rusty metal gate stood open leading up to a windy hill that was a base to her massive home. When I got to the top I thought I had the wrong place. There were no cars to be seen. The driveway stood bare.”But this doesn’t make any sense, the number matches up. This has to be the right place.” I thought aloud. I grabbed my phone, and found the sheet of paper with her directions and phone number written on it. I called her, confirming I was at the right location. Just then I saw her tiny face peek out from beneath the long curtains that covered her windows. The glare from the sun caught her thick glasses and nearly blinded my eyes as she opened the door welcoming me to her home. It was such a large and empty place for such a small person.
She didn’t waste any time showing me around. At first I was nervous about being the only one at a near stranger’s house, but nothing scary seemed to happen. She grabbed a piece of charcoal and paper and started showing me the creepy animal sculls that littered the house, which didn’t seem to comfort me at all. Her only explanation about the skulls was that she found them while walking along her yard on lonely days. When I asked her where all the kids were she replied, “I’m afraid that none of the other kids could join us.” All I was thinking was “she can kill me and throw me into the lake. No one would ever know!” Time flew by and before I knew it, it was time to be going and I had completed an amazing sketch of a cow skull to include in my portfolio.

After that Joan Levy and I made a deal, once a week I could come over to her house to draw sketches, and after I would help her out with some yard work. I mowed her lawn and helped her weed out the garden. This routine worked out so well she invited me to her color lecture class free of charge. Her appearance was deceiving, her being a creepy little woman with gigantic glasses, however in the end she turned out to be a very nice woman, who helped me to create drawings that progressed and turned me in to an artist. Now I only think she was just a little lonely being up in her castle on top of the mountain. To this day I am still in contact with Joan Levy through e-mail, and she continues to give me advice on my art work and what to do to become an adult artist.

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DreamGlider said...
Aug. 29, 2009 at 11:21 pm
beautifully written
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