Orange Dress

During a particularly difficult time in my life I bought a print of this painting.

The title is Flaming June and about twenty years ago,  I was 23, naive and going through some tough things.  I needed June.  At the time, I didn’t know the painting was famous.

Something spoke to me, and even though I should have spent the money on other things, I had her framed in heavy wood, painted gold, and hung over my new couch.

June represented a much needed rest and tremendous strength at the same time.  She was my “get your act together” muse and even though I never bothered to find out who painted her, she watched over me for many years, and I loved her.

This week I am in London with my youngest daughter and Michael.  It is one of my favorite cities.  We are staying in an apartment and it should rain at least half the time, so I am in heaven.

Michael set up two house tours today.  We followed a delightful guide, Shirley, through 18 Stafford Terrace which is a victorian home almost completely intact.  The family timeline and the stories took me to a place I could have stayed for a few more hours.

Next, we went through an art exhibit at the Leighton House Museum.  Leighton House is a more stately home and has truly magnificent tile work.  It was the home Sir Frederic Leighton.  He was a painter who died in the late 1800’s.

Leighton’s most famous work was . . . Flaming June.  I came around the corner, into his beautiful artist studio and there she was, twenty years later. I wasn’t expecting to see her, she had left my mind long ago.

I smiled like a fool.  The pull to her was right there again.  Flowing dress.  Her powerful body in repose.  I’m pretty sure if June stood up, she would be well over six fee tall.

Her face seemed softer this time, at peace, as if she knew we might meet again.

I am not sure what happened to my print of June.  She was on my wall in various apartments and homes for a while and then she was put in the garage and I guess donated at some point.  She moved through my life, provided beauty and a fluid sense of power while I needed it, and then she was gone.

Flaming June showed up in my life again today, over 5,000 miles from my home, and we sat for a moment in the glorious studio of her painter.  A man I knew nothing about until today.

My life is different now.  I have learned my own strength, but God how I needed June back then.  She taught me so many things.  I suppose through his work Leighton taught me many things too.

There I stood, in his home, grateful to them both.

My thoughts from the laundry room.  Drift Off.

15 thoughts on “Orange Dress

  1. I love this post, Tracy, and can relate so well to it. At some time or another, I think we all need Flaming Junes. Hopefully, as you did, we find them. Thank you for sharing her with us. 🙂

  2. I had a copy of a painting called “Romantic Guitarist”–it was a lady like your June, who had such a peaceful expression of content as she played her classical guitar. I was inspired to be a classical guitarist but lacked the fingering coordination. My “Lady” was a calming and serene focal point for me at the end of the day as my job was so chaotic. I truly enjoyed your “June” painting and am so glad you saw the original, Tracy! 🙂

  3. Well this was fun to read!
    What a great way to come full circle with yourself 20 years later and in such great company.

    Have a great day!

    -Tallulah

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