From her, I learned how to work until the work was done. I learned the type of stubborness it takes to hide 10 rhinos in a banyan tree, animate an explanation of a union deal using sound effects and a backhoe, and hack back the jungle with a weedwacker and a scythe all in the space of a day—while doing laundry and, hopefully, not burning cookies.
This one particular day in 1999, before I started painting rhinos, I was carrying home a great big El-Greco's-Toledo-as-painted-by-me. It was too big to tuck away inside my portfolio case, so I was carrying it out in the open. I'd started on the first bit of the hill when this guy came running out of a restaurant trying to get my attention. He asked if I was an artist.
The big moment with Mrs. Stewart, however, really was a moment. A sentence. A declaration. It was like someone struck a giant brass bell inside me and all the separate pieces of me, all the loves and dislikes, interests and passions, fell into their appropriate places.
I don't remember if we had an actual art class, but Frau Rosenow kept us motivated to make art and to write. She was the one I remember submitting and going over entries for the DoDDs art and writing competitions. She lead most of the field trips and always pointed out art and architecture while we were out and about.
Many years ago, Amethyst inspired me to do a series of art work featuring people who identify as transgender. She even generously arranged for an exhibition of the work and a related series of drawings at the Lighthouse Community Center in Hayward. The exhibition and series of four paintings were called Divine Being.