A warm, gentle San Diego breeze blows through the open window as I walk through the door of Jaime’s bedroom. She turns from her easel and wipes a stray strand of hair from her face while deftly swirling a brush in a cup of water. She is wearing an old hooded sweater with paint smears all over, and a pair of equally colorful cargo pants, yet she is barefoot. She smiles and nods her head getting back in time with the song playing loudly on the radio before daubing the tip of the brush into fresh paint again.
Her work is bold, using vibrant colors, but the smooth hues and well blended use of shadow and depth give the canvas life. She is very private about her talent, few people getting the chance to see the artist at work, much less her masterpieces, but I manage to settle in a seat behind her and look over her shoulder. It’s a new piece, one I haven’t seen before, and it must mean something very personal to her, because she paints with a purpose and passion I have never witnessed before. She is mixing up a brownish-orange now, and forming what looks like a very large, old fashioned, artesian bowl behind which a woman sits, blindfolded. Words pour down around her like falling tears and run over the bowl. Strong, harsh words I wish I hadn’t read as soon as I understood them. She is pouring her heart and soul onto this canvas, revealing a past clouded with pain and misunderstanding, a past she isn’t proud of but uses to drive herself to do better things every day. Then she stops, takes a step back, and lights a cigarette.
She smokes thoughtfully for several minutes, darting a fine tipped brush to touch up a minute detail, or wiping at a part she doesn’t quite like. Then she looks at me and asks, “What do you think?”. But the question doesn’t need reply, because she doesn’t believe me when I tell her how amazed I am with what she does with a brush. She wouldn’t hear anyway, as she has drifted back into evaluation mode and...