Painting Charlie is symbolic of a lot of things -- he is a link to Joan's past, the days spent in her old house with Charlie, but painting him is a celebration of the future, the days ahead in her new house with her pugs. Somehow, once I entered the doors of "Pugdom," her home in Warren, Vt, years ago, I became part of her story. It served me well, I was looking for something -- friendship, community, a place to escape and belong, something for my heart to latch on to -- and I found it. So, now I paint gnomes and name puppies, while her other friend, Jane, cleans the garage, moving years worth of stuff down the road to "3C," the new house.
In addition to painting Charlie, I got to spend some time with the new puppies today. Five in all, three big black boys, one black girl, and one little black boy -- the one I call Batman. He is about half the size of the others, but he seems to be thriving, he's just tinier than his siblings. I think this is a picture of him, although it's hard for me to tell. Everytime I picked him up, Waffles, his aunt would get all upset. She was more worried than Griffles, his mom. They all seem healthy and strong. I look forward to seeing them open their eyes.