Thursday, July 11, 2013

One short life with two wonderful wives: Part One, Karina's Story

Karina Does it Right
Karina and Kim were separated by 6 years and two very different lives.  Our dear friend Mike, a brilliant and charismatic radiologist with a welcoming soul, was incredibly fortunate to have been married to both of them…and I was thrilled both agreed to pose for me for Chicks with Balls.

Karina was the first. She has a European flair, comes from Belgian roots and possesses a trait I have decided to call, “confiance oublieux”* (oblivious confidence). I think it really never occurs to her to doubt herself, her looks, her decisions, her style. If she knots her flowing skirt up on the side to ride her bike through NYC, she makes it classic, even though, if I did the same I would end up as a fashion and traffic disaster.


Karina doesn’t talk herself up to convince others. She doesn’t need the spotlight or try for it…she’s busy worrying about the comfort of others. This is a trait that I selfishly covet.


Karina is blissfully oblivious to how something might appear to others. I’m sure this trait enabled her to put up with Mike’s charming, funny and sometimes abrupt New York manner, with her ego completely intact. Truly though, Mike loved Karina with all his heart and soul, passionately and with humor. We witnessed their relationship embrace the full range of emotions during the time my boyfriend, Scott (now my husband) and I double dated with them in the back seat of Karina’s Volkswagen Fox for 5 years in Boston.

After medical school we were in each other’s weddings. Cross country moves, a dozen Christmas cards and 3 birth announcements from us later, we found out that Mike and Karina had divorced. At my husband’s 40th birthday we saw them in their newly divorced state only to find that they got along better than we had ever seen them, and Mike spoke to Karina so darn respectfully. They were the most happily divorced couple we’d ever seen…on TV or in real life.


The only custody arrangements they had to work out were for shared use of their Volkswagen Golf. Scott and I felt like the children of this divorce, but never were our loyalties pulled in two directions. Neither one bad-mouthed the other in our presence and to this day, like oblivious children in an amicable divorce, we don’t know the details, nor do we need to know…we love them both.


So Karina and Mike, having been in each other’s lives and family since they were 19 and 20 respectively, became more like brother and sister in their late 30s, which seemed perfectly natural.


A few years ago, I visited Karina in NYC and she told me about how her life as a Senior Account VP for a big New York ad agency fared during the failing economy. Laid off now for two years, she lived on limited unemployment benefits and savings and no safety net of a double income. But she did have brains, style and resiliency…and the happy confiance oublieux that things would turn out well.


So, Karina went back to school…this time for art and design. Armed with business and marketing expertise gained in advertising, she showed me how she would literally re-design her future by creating deliciously wild wall coverings and textiles steeped in her ever-present sense of style…remember, if Karina did it, wore it, hung it in her home, it was amazing.


I was so impressed by this cultivation of her raw creative spirit, I asked her about posing for CWB. We took a trip down the street to Dick’s for balls (sorry, but that’s what the store is called) and an hour later Karina posed in the afternoon sun of her eclectic and cozy living room with the MOMA-inspired wiffle balls she had chosen for their spare contemporary clean design qualities.


Karina’s tale of reinvention, style, courage and kindness fit easily into my Chicks with Balls project. And posing for her seemed the most natural thing in the world; fun, relaxed, casual, creative…and with that ever-powerful confiance oublieux shining through.


She even pioneered the Chicks with Balls procedure of emerging from the changing room with a lovely oversized scarf draped over her shoulders. This she let fall at the right moment just before the photo shoot. I now have an exotic shawl available for the ladies that pose for me back at my studio too.


I call her painting, “Karina does it right”




*translation: “oblivious confidence”. Using my High School French and Google Translator, I have made up this French phrase and, in an attempt to introduce it into our language, much like “c’est la vie” and “croissant”, I use it in this blog. Please feel free to do the same should you see an occasion where it fits. 





Stay tuned for Part Two, Kim’s Story which will be coming in a week or two. 


Also, remember Chicks with Balls opens at BAYarts, Friday night August 9th with a fabulous hot summer night Opening Reception with live music from 7:00 to 9:00. 

BAYarts, 28795 Lake Ave, Bay Village, Ohio
Gallery talk begins 7:00 Wednesday night August 14th
Sign up for my oil painting workshop August 24th and 25th

Show runs through August 30th




 


 


 


 


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