A TWOFER!

NOT EVERY DAY do I get two gifts at once! In this case, it was a visit from Kamryn Delmonte, a budding fine artist who not only presented me with one of her original drawings, but spent the afternoon with me. Her mom, Rebecca (a phlebotomist who sees me nearly every week for testing), brought her to my studio after I’ve been telling her for months that I thought her daughter was a very special young woman. Rebecca has some of her drawings pinned up on the wall at the blood lab — changing them from time to time — and I always felt like I was not only visiting a lab, but a mini-gallery as well. I’d been noticing them for at least as long as a year (as I tried to look away from the needle going into my arm) and eventually asked who the artist was. “My daughter,” said Rebecca. “How old is she?” I asked. “Thirteen,” she answered. “Thirteen!” I chirped. I looked again at the drawings and judging from the confidence, surety of line, and proportional ‘rightness’, could not help repeating, “Thirteen?” I looked forward to seeing more of this 13-year-old’s work as I came in for bloodwork over the weeks and months. I had, of course, voiced my admiration during that time, and eventually, Rebecca started telling me that her daughter wanted to meet me after she told her about my remarks. Sooo…the visit. Kamryn had just turned fifteen — two days before coming to visit me — and, seeing this teen-ager sitting before me, I still could not help but be amazed at her professional-class draftsmanship. Meeting this extraordinary draftsman (or is it draftswoman?) was an especial treat for me. I’ve met and visited with hundreds of artists over the past 35 years, but this was my first time with a teenager. And, like so many artists I’ve met over the years, Kamryn was somewhat shy speaking about her work — which, when I told her how honored I was to finally own one of her pieces — got me little more than a one-shoulder shrug which silently said “Oh, it’s nothing.” But, it was not ‘nothing’ — the drawing, of a pensive-looking woman — was precisely limned in what is called the ‘manga’ style, delicately tinted green in strategic parts and framed in a simple black frame that perfectly set the whole thing off. Certainly something worth much more than a shrug — even more so in that it was given to me as a gift from what I believe to be herself a very gifted artist. So…I felt double-gifted, that I got a real honest-to-God ‘twofer’. The difficult thing is how to convince Kamryn that her gift is special, that it is rare, and that she ought to pursue it for as long as the urge to draw is upon her. I am aware that, in the world we live in, this may not be the best advice to give to anyone – the fact is, that being an artist is not an easy career-path. Yet, judging from what I see in her work, Kamryn could either go the ‘fine art’ route (the difficult one) or the commercial one (the more lucrative path). What I would hate to see was for her to abandon her extraordinary skills. I also hope that she retains her humility (without allowing it to cripple her) since, all too often, brash egotism can kill the gift of creativity all too quickly.  But I think she’ll be just fine. When I saw her mother the day after the visit, she told me that Kamryn buried herself in her room as soon as she got home because she was “inspired”.

You go, girl!

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4 Responses to A TWOFER!

  1. Hi Ray,

    A wonderful blog and a situation that I find myself in many times. It is always perplexing to me as I know all too well how hard it is to pursue a fine arts career. I think what you did was most meaningful to this young gal and will take her a long way and a moment that she will never forget. The people that come into our lives that motivate and inspire are with us forever and play a major role in our development. Bravo to you for making a difference.

    All the best and continued success and pleasure with your art.

  2. Kamryn says:

    Thank you so much, this is fantastic!

  3. Cary Greif says:

    Kamryn,

    Inspirational remarks from Ray Steiner have sustained me on my artistic path for over twenty years. And Aristotle had a this to say on the subject of gifts: “Where talents and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your vocation.”

    Whatever path you end up choosing, it seems to me the world is very much in need of beauty. Not knowing your work, but knowing Ray, I believe you have something very beautiful to offer.

    To many years of your finding the joy in it!

  4. Kamryn says:

    That was very kind, thank you so much both Ray and Cary!

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