The dinner party

We had an outstanding dinner party a couple of years ago.  I’d just been published in a book about early century NZ artists.  It was a beautiful book, well produced.  One of those books that make the whole experience of reading them pleasureable, not just the content.  The paper, the design, the weight, all those things were spot on.  So we had a dinner, myself, Jane and Anne.  To celebrate the ten years since our first major show together and how far we had come in that time.  We had it on Waiheke.  The house was looking particulalry pleasing that day.  It was a late summers evening, with a lovely glow in the house. I had many candles lite around the house, up the stairs, in the dining room and on the bench.  Our floor is solid timber, not vaneer, so it bows every so slightly as you walk on it and feels warm underfoot, taking on the freshness of the summer air.  We have several rugs that ensure cosyness when wanted, but the floors themselves are perfect for the Waiheke climate.  Our table is an old Kauri dining table from the 1950s.  Its solid, warm, simple apart from an intricate detail on the bottom side of the legs, large and inviting.  Around it I have eight clear plastic dining chairs.  I love the modern against the old.  In my art collection I have a couple of old gilded framed paintings, I love how they feel against the modern unframed paintings, and the modern framed ones too.  The Table was set with six settings.  It was just the adults that night.   We had three courses.  Paddy from Ringawera came and cooked for us.  He, being an artist himself, was the ideal chef for the occaision.  I can’t remember exactly what the food was, but each bite was a taste sensation.  We had, sweet, delicate, pungent, sour, sticky, clean, fresh, salty.  All the tastes were balanced and lovely.  We sat at the table til after midnight.  Laughing, telling stories about how we used to fret about being artists and then, how we started to climb into it.  How after a few years we realised we had let go of any ‘trying’ and we simply living as we wanted.  How our success and fame arrived once we stopped striving for it.  How we started celebrating any success, in the world in general and the art world in particular.  How anyone getting a sponsor was a win, not just if we got one. How any successful exhibition was a cause of celebration, even if we didn’t like the art or the artist or the gallery.  It became our mission to be part of the good.  To stop competing with anyone else and seeing it all as good.  That’s when it changed for us.  That’s when we started getting sponsors ourselves.  Started having sell-out shows.  Started getting noted in books.  Started getting articles in Magazines.  And when that happened, when we had truly understood that success had nothing to do with our art, we started to shine.  That was worth celebrating. That was worth a dinner.  May we have many more.

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