I was in St. Louis last week to attend a luncheon at Tower Grove Park. The photographer shooting the event was Charlie Barnes. Artists are often drawn to talk to each other, and I was sketching at the event because I didn't know anyone, so we ended up talking. He saw me changed and heading out to paint at the end of the luncheon -- I try never to waste an opportunity to paint in Tower Grove -- and Charlie asked if he could shoot some photos of me painting. I was delighted because you can always use a lovely professional photo of what you do professionally, and I was also enjoying talking shop to him about making a living somewhat outside the normal system.
I had spotted a gorgeous copper beech I'd never noticed before on my walk that morning (the park is so rich in beautiful trees), and it was calling my name, so we headed there. It turned out to be a perfect choice.
I'm amazed at Charlie's eye and portrait skills. That top photo especially is perfect to me. Somehow, on just thirty minutes' acquaintance, he managed to capture the magic I feel in what I do and how I see the world around me and the connection I feel with trees. (Dad calls me the Ent Wife.) I don't know how Charlie did that, but I'm deeply grateful to have this record of the joy I feel in my work.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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