There is a concreate slab, a perch, like a small unassuming stage set across and just to the right of a proper one. This is the place where I first became comfortable painting before an audience. This is my little stage, although newcomers who enter this French Quarter courtyard would be unlikely to take much notice of it. When I am not there with my easel and canvas it holds causally charming objects such as plants and garden statues instead, and in this way it becomes somewhat invisible, its magic stashed away while hidden in plain sight. This is where it first happened for me. On April 8th 2021 with a live band performing in front of me I forgot of everything else except for the task ahead. And once the two hour musical set was nearly complete I was announced from the proper stage, my name spoken over a microphone to the crowd.
I turned to face them.
When I had begun the painting there were only a few scattered groupings of onlookers, but while being unaware of the world around me, they had multiplied. The space had become filled with guests, of music and art lovers. I turned to face an excited crowd who cheered. Behind them, barely noticeable from the people blocking its view was a previous studio work of mine from two years earlier, a mural that spread against the back wall of the courtyard just beyond a fountain peeking its bright green background through the openings between the lively bodies which mostly concealed it. It whispered reassurance to me that I was worthy of the support beneath my feet and of the love being carried to me by way of their applause and smiles. I setted in, back into myself, back into my painting. I contained my heart and finished my work. I have painted from that perch at least seven times since. It is a sacred block of concrete for the memories it holds.
It has become my favorite stepping stone.