A True Artistic Soul

A True Artistic Soul

July 2, 2024, Tuesday — While I was working on the newest painting today, my thoughts drifted to the blog and I thought I might write about my friend, Muff, a true artistic soul. Thought I might sketch her life, starting in 1931, when a wee girl was born. And which culminated two weeks ago, on June 13, 2024. Age 92 and another birth. The body and mind returned to needing all the care of an infant, then poof, back through the portal from whence she came.

I know about this last phase well as I’m her trustee and the last 12 months of my life has been directly tied to hers as she went from independent shop owner (Lovene’s Clothing and Collectibles in Chico, CA) and driver’s licensed, movie-going, hollyhock-growing, library book-reading, art gallery-attending, chili relleno-loving, full-on bohemian being to breaking her leg and never being the same after the anesthesia used to fix it. The leg healed, her mind did not. And as went the mind, soon followed the body.

Muff was born Little Miss Muffet. As she grew, she realized her name was actually Jamie Lovene Musser. But the nickname stuck and I have called her Muff my entire life. She was my mother’s best friend. They met in third grade and became instant partners in crime. I’ll see if I can find a photo of the twin renegades. It was debatable who was a worse influence on the other.

Her father was a dentist (and alcoholic, Muff always referred to him this way, so not being gratuitous), and mother was a homemaker who died of cancer when Muff was just 9 or 10. Upon her mother’s death, her father bought a family niche in a columbarium for their ashes. This was over 80 years ago. Brother died next, over 50 years ago, and two niches were filled. Then 40 years ago, father died. Now nearly a century past her mother, Miss Muffet is joining her family. Dear child, such a long time to be on your own.

Muff outlived everyone, and her own potential offspring were collateral damage in the discovery of x rays. She had appendicitis as a kid and they got a real good look at it while simultaneously frying all the eggs in her ovaries.

She suffered through famously failed romances like a true artist, never being particularly lucky in this department. But she led a fiercely loving life all the same and was fiercely loved by her friends. College, career as a lab technician, retirement, and throughout all phases, always a life of art. Her home, her dress, her style, her handwriting, everything about her was a work of art. Her personality, too, she was eccentric! And her art itself. Whatever she created was brilliant, whether that was painting, sewing, weaving, gardening, friendships, she had the touch. And she lived to create.

You asked me to watch over you in your last years, Muff, and it was an honor. Please watch over me. And help me paint.

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Lauren Forcella

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About Lauren Forcella

Painting nature is my way of being devotional to this beautiful planet we’ve been born to. I strive to bring onto the canvas the livingness, aliveness, and wildness of this wonderland we call Earth… Read More

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