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Finding Zita

Her name was Zita. We immediately befriended one another in 2009. Our meeting, in a medieval village in the south of France, was nowhere near a coincidence. A fiery light had been sent to me on one of the most difficult, weak moments of my burgeoning creative quest on the European continent.


Earlier that morning I decided to walk away from an artist residency program that I had worked and prayed so hard for. I shan't delve into the details here except merely to say that I needed more than my two giant blue suitcases to lean on that afternoon.


Under August's sun, beads of sweat slipped over my forehead and neck like the tender touch of a thoughtful geisha. Suddenly, the broken wings found lift as I quickly fell into Zita's zesty and occasionally zany aura. I found her cheery cheeks and yiddish giggle singing of compassion, contentment and eventually, endless accounts of Austria's golden art age. When I learned that she had studied painting with Austrian artist, poet and playwright Oskar Kokoschka, my moistened eyelids blinked twice. In that instant, those hapless and hopeless clouds, over only my head, flew far into the distance, far beyond the rich vermillion rust of the Estérel mountains. O.K. was one of the three legedary painters to lead Austria at the turn of the 20th century. Although I looked more toward the works of Egon Schiele, this common ground was sure and yet mysterious enough for me to stand straight on, enough to pump some lost breath back into my listless lungs and unfolding spiritual journey.


Reminiscing over tea and cookies was one of her favorite ways to pass time, along with reading, laughing and of course painting. At the age of 99, Zita left the azur sea and sky of the mediterranean for another setting surely more sumptuous. One where infinite canvases, colour and inspiration awaited her, along with her adored husband.

So happy that I came upon our photo, taken in her atelier, this ev e.


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Merk Showroom
Merk Showroom
Dec 18, 2023

An encounter on this level and in the right moment is so precious, uplifting and can be even life saving. Amazing, that there was already something special in it that pointed to Austria ...

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